Glial activation and neuroinflammatory processes play an important role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and HIV dementia. Activated glia cells can secrete various proinflammatory cytokines and neurotoxic mediators, which may influence neuronal cell survival. Recent studies have demonstrated that glia cell-mediated neuroinflammation is also related to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. In the present study, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects of antipsychotics were investigated using cultured brain cells as a model. The results showed that spiperone significantly decreased the production of nitric oxide in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV-2 microglia cells, primary microglia and primary astrocyte cultures. Spiperone also significantly inhibited nitric oxide production in adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP)-stimulated primary microglia cultures. Spiperone markedly decreased the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in BV-2 microglia cells. Spiperone attenuated the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-alpha at mRNA levels in BV-2 microglia cells. Spiperone inhibited nuclear translocation and DNA binding of the p65 subunit of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), inhibitor of kappa B (IκB) degradation, and phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in the lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV-2 microglia cells. Moreover, spiperone was neuroprotective, as the drug reduced microglia-mediated neuroblastoma cell death in the microglia/neuron co-culture. These results imply that the antipsychotic spiperone has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in the central nervous system by modulating glial activation.