Intrathecal production of neopterin, a pteridine produced by interferon (IFN)-gamma-stimulated monocyte-derived macrophages, is associated with neurological disorders and infections. We investigated whether IFN-alpha/beta, IFN-gamma, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) induce neopterin production by human astroglioma cells. IFN-alpha/beta and IFN-gamma, but not HIV, induced neopterin. Interestingly, IFN-gamma, but not IFN-alpha/beta, increased expression and activity of the tryptophan-catabolizing enzyme indoleamine (2,3)-dioxygenase. In contrast, IFN-alpha/beta, but not IFN-gamma, reduced the uptake of three aromatic amino acids in U87MG and U138 astroglioma cells. Thus type I and type II IFN stimulate astrocyte-derived cells to produce neopterin and exert differential effects on amino acid metabolism.