Cytokines are highly inducible, secretory proteins that mediate intercellular communication in the immune system. They are grouped in several protein families, namely tumor necrosis factors, interleukins, interferons and colony-stimulating factors. In recent years, evidence has elucidated that some of these proteins as well as their receptors are also produced in the central nervous system (CNS) by specific neural cell lineages under physiological and pathological conditions. Cytokines regulate a variety of processes in the CNS, including neurotransmission. The current data let us to suggest that cytokines play an important role in the regulation of both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in the CNS. This knowledge could be fundamental for the proposal of new therapeutic approaches to neurological and psychiatric disorders.