1. The hyperalgesic effects of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) were measured in rats. 2. Hyperalgesic responses to IL-1 beta were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH)-related peptides with the following order of potency: [N1(4),D-Phe7]alpha-MSH greater than alpha-MSH greater than Lys-D-Pro-Val greater than Lys-Pro-Val greater than Lys-D-Pro-Thr greater than D-Lys-Pro-Thr. 3. Hyperalgesic responses to PGE2 were not inhibited by Lys-D-Pro-Thr and D-Lys-Pro-Thr but were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by the other peptides with the same order of potency as against IL-1 beta. 4. The potencies of [N1(4), D-Phe7]alpha-MSH and alpha-MSH were greatly diminished by deletion of their C-terminal tripeptide, Lys11-Pro-Val13. 5. Nor-binaltorphimine (Nor-BNI) largely reversed the analgesic effects of alpha-MSH, [N1(4), D-Phe7]alpha-MSH, Lys-Pro-Val and Lys-D-Pro-Val indicating that kappa-opioid receptors mediated the analgesic activity of these peptides. 6. Nor-BNI did not antagonize the inhibition by Lys-D-Pro-Thr and D-Lys-Pro-Thr of IL-1 beta evoked hyperalgesia indicating that these peptides were not acting via kappa-opioid receptors.