Conditioned alteration of natural killer (NK) cell activity was used as an indicator of the functional bidirectional communication between the immune and central nervous systems. Poly I:C and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium were used as unconditioned stimuli and odor of camphor as the conditioned stimulus. An attempt was made to demonstrate the role of central interleukin (IL-1) receptors in this communication process. Brain IL-1 receptors were down-regulated by treatment with 50 μg/mouse of LPS from S. typhimurium, but not with the same dose of LPS from E. coli or poly I:C. A significant level of conditioned augmentation of NK cell activity was observed with poly I:C. Conditioned alteration in NK cell activity was also observed with LPS from E. coli, but at much lower level than poly I:C. NK cell activity was not conditioned with LPS from S. typhimurium at the same dose as E. coli LPS, but conditioned enhancement of NK cell activity was observed with a higher dose (100 μg) of S. typhimurium LPS. These results suggest that modulation of central IL-1 receptors do not seem to play a role in the conditioned augmentation of NK cell activity. © 1997 S. Karger AG, Basel.