The beneficial effects of estrogens in multiple sclerosis are thought to be mediated exclusively by the classical nuclear estrogen receptors ERalpha and ERbeta. However, recently many reports revealed that estrogens are able to mediate rapid signals through a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), known as GPR30. In the present study, we set out to explore whether effects mediated through this receptor were anti-inflammatory and could account for some of the beneficial effects of estrogen. We demonstrate that GPR30 is expressed in both human and mouse immune cells. Furthermore a GPR30-selective agonist, G-1, previously described by us, inhibits the production of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokines such as TNF-alpha and IL-6 in a dose-dependent manner in human primary macrophages and in a murine macrophage cell line. These effects are likely mediated solely through the estrogen-specific receptor GPR30 since the agonist G-1 displayed an IC(50) far greater than 10 microM on the classical nuclear estrogen receptors as well as a panel of 25 other GPCRs. Finally, we show that the agonist G-1 is able to reduce the severity of disease in both active and passive EAE models of multiple sclerosis in SJL mice and that this effect is concomitant with a G-1-mediated decrease in proinflammatory cytokines, including IFN-gamma and IL-17, in immune cells harvested from these mice. The effect of G-1 appears indirect, as the GPR30 agonist did not directly influence IFN-gamma or IL-17 production by purified T cells. These data indicate that G-1 may represent a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of chronic autoimmune, inflammatory diseases.