The cannabinoid receptor agonists [(-)-11-hydoxy-Delta(8)tetrahydrocannabinol-dimethylheptyl] (HU-210) and [(R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(4-morpholinyl)methyl[pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl](1-naphthalenyl) methanone] (WIN 55212-2) were previously shown to downregulate inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-12) and to upregulate antiinflammatory interleukin-10 when administered intraperitoneally (i.p.) to mice before an endotoxin challenge. Cytokine modulation coincided with the onset of behavioral changes that are associated with cannabinoid agonist activated central cannabinoid CB(1) receptors. Both effects were antagonized by [N-(piperdin-1-yl)-5-(4-chloropheny)-1-(2,4-dichloropheny)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide hydrochloride] (SR141716A) a selective cannabinoid CB(1) receptor antagonist. In the present study, we have investigated further the apparent role of central CB(1) cannabinoid receptors in cytokine modulation by HU-210 and WIN 55212-2. When administered intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.), the drugs modulated cytokine responses at doses that were threefold to fourfold lower than those found effective by the i.p. route. SR141716A blocked cytokine modulation when coadministered centrally with the agonists, while a selective cannabinoid CB(2) receptor antagonist, (N-[(1S)-endo-1,3,3-trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-yl]5-(4-choro-3 methylphenyl)-1-(4-methylbenzyl)pyrazole-3-carboxamide) (SR144528) had no effect. Surprisingly, SR144528 was found to modulate cytokines itself when injected i.c.v.