Sickness behavior refers to the coordinated set of behavior changes that develop in sick individuals during the course of an infection. At the molecular level, these changes are due to the effects of proinflammatory cytokines as interleukin-1 on the brain. The purpose of this article is not to review the entire field of cytokines and behavior, but rather to address the role of interleukin-1 receptors (IL-1Rs) in sickness behavior. We briefly describe the notion of sickness behavior and present the distribution of IL-1Rs in the central nervous system of the human, mouse and rat. We then bring arguments in favor of the functionality of the various subtypes of receptors and evaluate the nature of the signaling pathways activated by brain IL-1Rs to initiate central modifications leading to symptoms of sickness. Finally, modulation of IL-1 action on its receptor by various opposing factors including glucocorticoids and anti-inflammatory cytokines is discussed.