We examined the kainic acid-induced changes of mRNA levels of several cytokines such as IL-1 beta, IL-6, TNF alpha and LIF in the rat brain regions using semiquantitative RT-PCR method. IL-1 beta mRNA was markedly increased in the cerebral cortex (CC), thalamus (THL) and hypothalamus (HT) 2 h after the injection of kainic acid in a convulsive dose (12 mg/kg i.p.), and tended to decrease 4 h after the injection. IL-6 mRNA was weakly induced in the hippocampus (HPP) 2 h after the injection of kainic acid and was markedly increased in the CC, HPP, THL, and HT at 4 h. The level of TNF alpha mRNA was highly elevated in the CC, HPP, striatum (STR), THL and HT at 2 and 4 h after the injection. LIF mRNA apparently expressed in the CC and HPP of control rats and was increased in the CC, HPP and HT by the treatment with kainic acid. These results indicate that mRNAs of several cytokines are increased in various brain regions with different time-courses by kainic acid.