The molecular mechanism by which the deleterious cytokines interleukin 1 beta (IL-1beta) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) are induced in endotoxin-stimulated microglia was investigated from the viewpoint of signal transduction. Neither cytokine is produced in nonstimulated rat microglia, but both are remarkably induced by stimulation with endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS-inducible IL-1beta was significantly suppressed by pretreatment with the nuclear factor kappa B (NFkappaB) inhibitor ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (APDC), but TNFalpha was not. APDC was actually confirmed to suppress the degradation of IkappaBalpha and IkappaBbeta in microglia, indicating a role for the inhibitor of NFkappaB activation. Taken together, these results suggest that the induction of IL-1beta and TNFalpha in endotoxin-stimulated microglia is differentially regulated at the level of NFkappaB activation.