The scrapie isoform of the prion protein (PrPres) induces neurodegeneration and gliosis in the central nervous system. These features may be reproduced in vitro on exposure of neuronal and glial cultures to PrPres and the peptide HuPr P106-126. In the present study, we investigated the role of microglial cells and astrocytes in the pathological process by studying their molecular response to PrP 106-126 exposure. PrP 106-126 elicited a specific overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL1beta and IL6 in microglial cells (but not increased expression of TNFalpha, IL10, and TGFbeta1) and over-expression of GFAP in astrocytes. These effects were strictly dependent on the ability of the peptide to form amyloid fibrils. These data strongly suggest that microglial cells contribute to prion-related neurodegenerative processes by producing proinflammatory cytokines in the brain areas of amyloid PrP deposition.