The influence of brain interleukin-1 (IL-1ß) on memory processes includes both detrimental and beneficial effects. To further explore the dynamics of brain IL-1ß in mediating learning and memory during acute sickness, we injected species-homologous rat IL-1ß (100 ng/5 μl) or vehicle (0.1% bovine serum albumin, 5 μl) directly into the cisterna magna (i.c.m.) of male Sprague-Dawley rats. We measured, in parallel, body temperature, food intake, body mass, cage activity, as well as learning and memory using contextual fear conditioning. To investigate the effects of IL-1ß on learning and memory processes we used: (1) a retrograde experiment that involved injecting rats i.c.m. with IL-1ß immediately after training in the novel context, and (2) an anterograde experiment that involved injecting rats i.c.m. with IL-1ß two hours before training in the novel context. In addition, hypothalamic and hippocampal concentrations of IL-1β were measured at several time points following injection. Administration of IL-1ß induced fever, lethargy and anorexia for ˜ two-to-three days and increased the concentration of IL-1ß in the hippocampus and hypothalamus for at least eight hours. Training in the context immediately before IL-1ß administration (retrograde experiment), did not impair contextual and auditory fear memory. However, when training in the context occurred concurrently with elevated hippocampal IL-1ß levels, two hours after IL-1ß administration (anterograde experiment), contextual, but not auditory, fear memory was impaired. Our results show that there are instances where memory consolidation can occur concurrently with elevated levels of IL-1ß in the hippocampus, fever, anorexia and lethargy during acute short-term sickness.