Chlamydia pneumoniae is the aetiological cause of a wide variety of chronic inflammatory diseases and may be associated with neurological disease. Microbiological and immunological aspects of the interaction between C. pneumoniae and the central nervous system (CNS) are not well understood because of the lack of a suitable infection model for neuronal studies. In the present study, an in vitro C. pneumoniae infection model was developed in the established microglial cell line EOC 20. Infection of the cells resulted in obvious induction of proinflammatory cytokines. The infection also selectively induced matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) but not MMP-2. Moreover, beta interferon, which is known to modulate CNS disease, inhibited induction of MMP-9 following C. pneumoniae infection. These results support the view that C. pneumoniae infection may be associated with marked alteration of the ability of microglial cells to enhance cytokine production as well as induction of an MMP.