IL-1 is an endogenous pyrogen produced upon inflammation or infection. Previously, we showed that, upon injection with turpentine, IL-1 is induced in the brain in association with the development of fever. The role of endogenous IL-1 in the brain and the signaling cascade to activate thermosensitive neurons, however, remain to be elucidated. In this report, febrile response was analyzed after peripheral injection of IL-1alpha. We found that a normal febrile response was induced even in IL-1alpha/beta-deficient mice, indicating that production of IL-1 in the brain is not necessarily required for the response. In contrast, IL-6-deficient mice did not exhibit a febrile response. Cyclooxygenase (Cox)-2 expression in the brain was strongly induced 1.5 h after injection of IL-1alpha, whereas IL-6 expression was observed 3 h after the injection. Cox-2 expression in the brain was not influenced by IL-6 deficiency, whereas indomethacin, an inhibitor of cyclooxygenases, completely inhibited induction of IL-6. These observations suggest a mechanism of IL-1-induced febrile response in which IL-1 in the blood activates Cox-2, with the resulting prostaglandin E(2) inducing IL-6 in the brain, leading to the development of fever.