Interleukin (IL)-1 beta is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that has been shown to play a pivotal role in the onset of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), however, the molecular mechanisms underlying the production of IL-1 beta in IBD are not fully understood. We investigated dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced IL-1 beta production and caspase-1 activities in murine peritoneal macrophages (pM phi). Further, the activation status of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK1/2), as well as their upstream target kinases, were examined by Western blotting. In addition, mRNA expression was assessed by RT-PCR and CXC chemokine ligand 16 (CXCL16) protein was detected by immunocytochemistry. DSS-treated pM phi released IL-1 beta protein in a time-dependent manner without affecting mRNA levels during 3-24 h, and caspase-1 activity peaked at 5 min (29-fold). IL-1 beta release and caspase-1 activity induced by DSS were significantly inhibited by a MAPK kinase 1/2 inhibitor, a p38 MAPK inhibitor, and NAC, however, not by JNK1/2 or a protein kinase C inhibitor. In addition, DSS strikingly induced the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and ERK1/2 within 2 and 10 min, respectively. DSS also induced intracellular generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Pre-treatment with anti-CXCL16 for 24 h, but not anti-scavenger receptor-A, anti-CD36, or anti-CD68 antibodies, significantly suppressed DSS-induced IL-1 beta production. Our results suggest that DSS triggers the release of IL-1 beta protein from murine pM phi at a post-translational level through binding with CXCL16, ROS generation, and resultant activation of both p38 MAPK and ERK1/2 pathways, and finally caspase-1 activation.