Healthy kidneys are important for the efficient regulation of metabolism. However, there is an ever increasing population of patients suffering from both acute and chronic kidney diseases that disrupt this homeostasis. This review will explore the emerging roles that interleukin 6 (IL-6) cytokine family members play in the pathogenesis of kidney disease. The IL-6 family of cytokines are involved in a diverse range of physiological functions. In relation to kidney disease, their involvement is no less diverse. Evidence from both preclinical and clinical sources show that IL-6 cytokine family members can play either a deleterious or protective role in response to kidney disease. This appears to be dependent on the type of kidney disease in question or the specific cytokine. Current attempts to use or target IL-6 cytokine family members as therapies of kidney diseases will be highlighted throughout this review. Finally, the involvement of IL-6 cytokine family members in kidney disease will be presented in the context of three regularly overlapping conditions: obesity, hypertension and diabetes.