We previously reported that lipoplysaccharide (LPS) injected intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) at an ineffective dose (0.1 microgram/rat) decreased the drug metabolizing activities and related cytochrome P450 (CYP) isozymes in rat liver microsomes when injected intraperitoneally (i.p.). The dose study (doses < 0.1 microgram intracerebrally and > 0.1 microgram i.p.), which was carried out to examine how much more effective is i.c.v.-LPS than i.p.-LPS, showed that the pattern of alteration of expression of CYP isozymes induced by i.c.v.-LPS was different from that caused by i.p.-LPS at an effective dose (10 micrograms/rat). These results indicate that the decrease in hepatic CYP isozymes caused by i.c.v.-LPS could not be explained by the LPS leaked from the brain, suggesting that the decrease in hepatic CYP isozymes by i.c.v.-LPS may be caused by a central action of LPS. In this study, the possible involvement of sympathetic nervous and adrenocortical systems in the down-regulation of CYP isozymes by i.c.v.-LPS was investigated using surgical or chemical sympathetecomized or adrenalectomized rats. The norepinephrine (NE) content in the liver in rats with surgical hepatic sympathetectomy was reduced by 88% compared with that of sham-operated rats that received i.c.v.-saline and 85% compared with that of sham-operated rats that received i.c.v.-LPS, indicating that hepatic denervation was successful. The NE content in the liver in rats chemically sympathetectomized by two i.p. injections of 6-hydroxydopamine (40 mg/kg each time) 1 and 2 days before i.c.v. injection was reduced by 82% in i.c.v.-saline-treated and by 74% in i.c.v.-LPS-treated groups compared with that in rats pretreated with i.p.-saline. These results indicate that sympathetic NE terminals were effectively removed. Intracerebroventricular LPS decreased the total P450 content and the activities of CYP dependent drug metabolizing enzymes, ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD), pentoxyresorufin O-depentylase (PROD), imipramine N-demethylase (IMND) and erythromycin N-demethylase (ERND) after 24 h in both sympathetectomized rats and non-denervated rats. Adrenalectomy (ADX) reduced the level of corticosterone in serum by 81% compared to sham-operated rats, indicating that adrenalectomy was successful. ADX did not inhibit the decrease in the total P450 content and the metabolism of drugs induced by i.c.v.-LPS, but more profoundly emphasized the inhibitory effect of i.c.v.-LPS than the sham-operation. These results suggest that the sympathetic nervous systems both directly and indirectly innervating the liver do not participate in the primary mechanism of the decrease in the activities of CYP isozymes in rat liver microsomes induced by i.c.v.-LPS. Also, the adrenal glands, especially the adrenocortical system, play a suppressive role in the decrease in CYP isozymes caused by i.c.v.-LPS.