The cytokine IL-18 acts on the CNS both in physiological and pathological conditions. Its action occurs through the heterodimeric receptor IL-18Ralpha\beta. To better understand IL-18 central effects, we investigated in the mouse brain the distribution of two IL-18Ralpha transcripts, a full length and an isoform lacking the intracellular domain hypothesized to be a decoy receptor. Both isoforms were expressed in neurons throughout the brain primarily with overlapping distribution but also with some unique pattern. These data suggest that IL-18 may modulate neuronal functions and that its action may be regulated through expression of a decoy receptor.