We have previously shown that IL-6 protein levels are increased in cerebrospinal fluid in humans after recent tonic-clonic seizures with unchanged levels of IL-1beta and TNFalpha. Here we studied the expression of cytokines IL-6, LIF, IL-1beta and TNFalpha and cytokine receptors IL-6R, LIFR and Gp130 in the rat brain after kainic acid-induced status epilepticus using Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization histochemistry. After seizures, IL-6 mRNA was induced in the hippocampus, cortex, amygdala and meninges, and IL-6R was up-regulated in the hippocampus. LIF was up-regulated in the hippocampus, cortex and meninges after seizures, and LIFR mRNA was induced in the hippocampus and cortex. Gp130 was constitutively expressed in the brain. After seizures, Gp130 transcription was rapidly induced in the meninges. In thalamus, cortex, amygdala and hippocampus Gp130 mRNA was induced in a delayed fashion. IL-1beta transcription was induced in the temporal lobe cortex and thalamus, and TNFalpha in the hippocampus. In general, the cytokine and their receptor mRNA levels were low in intact rat brain, but were induced by seizures. Since IL-6 and LIF transcripts were induced in the meninges after seizures, the protein products of these transcripts may be more readily released in cerebrospinal fluid after seizures. In addition, the activity of IL-6 and LIF signaling pathways may be influenced by increased expression of their receptors after seizures.