Background: During liver injury, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) can undergo activation and transform into alpha-smooth muscle actin (aSMA)-expressing contractile myofibroblast-like cells, leading to deposition of excessive scar matrix. We have recently demonstrated that depletion of adenosine deaminase acting on double-stranded RNA (ADAR1) from mouse hepatocytes leads to HSC activation and induction of inflammation and hepatic fibrosis that is mediated by interleukin 6 (IL-6). Our aim was to identify and characterize the molecular pathways involved in the direct, inflammation-independent activation of HSCs by IL-6. Methods: Primary HSCs were isolated from mouse livers. mRNA levels of αSMA and Col1a were analyzed using qRT-PCR. Protein levels of αSMA, MAPK, p-MAPK, p38, p-p38, STAT3 and p-STAT3 were assessed by Western Blot analysis. The effect of specific signal transduction pathway inhibitors (i.e., SB203580 (P-38 inhibitor), U0126 (MAPK inhibitor), S3I-201 (STAT3 inhibitor) and Ruxolitinib (Jak1/2 inhibitor)) was also studied. Results: Primary HSCs treated with IL-6 demonstrated upregulation of αSMA and Col1a mRNA levels as well as increased αSMA protein levels. Moreover, the phenotypic transition of quiescent HSCs toward myofibroblast-like cells was noted upon administration of IL-6 and not in untreated samples. In addition, the phosphorylation levels of p38, MAPK and STAT3 increased 30 minutes after treatment, and was followed by a decline in the phosphorylation levels 2-4 hours post-treatment. However, addition of specific signal transduction pathway inhibitors curbed this effect, and resulted in αSMA and Col1a expression levels similar to those measured in untreated control samples. Conclusion: IL-6 can directly induce the transition of HSCs toward myofibroblast-like cells. The effect is mediated by the activation of both MAPK and JAK/STAT signaling pathways. Elimination of either MAPK or JAK/STAT signaling pathways inhibits HSC stimulation. These results might pave the road toward the development of potential therapeutic interventions for hepatic fibrosis.