Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 20 infants who died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), 7 cases of infectious death and 5 cases of violent death were examined with respect to concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6). The measurements were performed by ELISA. IL-6 levels in SIDS were significantly lower than in infectious death (p < 0.02), but significantly higher than in violent death (p < 0.02). Since IL-6 plays an important role in immune responses and may induce fever, the findings may suggest that immune activation plays a role in SIDS. The presence of cytokines in the central nervous system (CNS) may cause respiratory depression, especially in vulnerable infants.