The endogenous pyrogen interleukin-1 (IL-1) is considered as one of the key molecules in orchestrating the host response of injury and inflammation. IL-1 exerts its effects upon binding to the type I IL-1 receptor (IL-1RI). The IL-1-IL-1RI complex is further thought to associate with the IL-1 receptor accessory protein (IL-1RAcP), which is suggested to be important for most IL-1 signal transduction pathways. With the aim of investigating the importance of the IL-1RAcP in IL-1 signalling, IL-1alpha and IL-1beta induced febrile responses and IL-1beta-mediated activation of NFkappaB in primary astrocyte cultures were examined using IL-1RAcP-deficient (IL-1RAcP KO) and wild type mice, respectively. It was shown that neither recombinant rat IL-1alpha (rrIL-1alpha, 25 microg/kg), recombinant rat IL-1beta (rrIL-1beta, 40 microg/kg) nor recombinant human IL-1beta (rhIL-1beta, 50 microg/kg) injected i.p. could elicit febrile responses in the IL-1RAcP-deficient mice, while the same doses of rrIL-1alpha/beta or rhIL-1beta injected into wild type mice caused normal fever responses. A febrile response could be induced in the IL-1RAcP-deficient mice by i.p. administration of E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 50 microg/kg) and this response was similar to that obtained in wild type mice. Furthermore, it was shown that rhIL-1beta activated, in a concentration-dependent manner, nuclear translocation of the transcriptional nuclear factor kappa B (NFkappaB) in primary astrocyte cultures prepared from wild type mice, whereas no IL-1beta-induced translocation of NFkappaB could be detected in cultures prepared from IL-1RAcP-deficient mice, as revealed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). The rhIL-1beta-induced NFkappaB complexes were shown to contain p50 but no, or very little, p65 and cRel immunoreactive proteins.