Parenterally administered lipopolysaccharide (LPS) increases the concentration of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) in the rat hippocampus and evidence suggests that this effect plays a significant role in inhibiting long-term potentiation (LTP). The anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, antagonizes certain effects of IL-1beta, so if the effects of LPS are mediated through an increase in IL-1beta, it might be predicted that IL-10 would also abrogate the effect of LPS. Here, we report that IL-10 reversed the inhibitory effect of LPS on LTP and the data couple this with an inhibitory effect on the LPS-induced increase in IL-1beta. LPS treatment increased hippocampal expression of IL-1 receptor Type I protein. Consistent with the LPS-induced increases in IL-1beta concentration and receptor expression, were downstream changes which included enhanced phosphorylation of IRAK and the stress-activated kinases, JNK and p38; these LPS-induced changes were reversed by IL-10, which concurs with the idea that these events are triggered by increased activation of IL-1RI by IL-1beta. We provide evidence which indicates that LPS treatment leads to evidence of cell death and this was reversed in hippocampus prepared from LPS-treated rats which received IL-10. The evidence is therefore consistent with the idea that IL-10 acts to protect neuronal tissue from the detrimental effects induced by LPS.