This study examines cerebrospinal fluid from patients with three neuropsychiatric diseases of childhood for the presence and levels of several cytokines relevant to cell-mediated (type 1) and humoral (type 2) immunity. The patient groups include childhood-onset schizophrenia (n = 22), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (n = 24), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (n = 42). The cytokines examined include IL-2, IFN-gamma, TNF-beta/LT, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and TNF-alpha. Patients with OCD had a preponderance of type 1 cytokines. IL-4 was detectable only in samples from patients with schizophrenia. IL-10 was rarely detected and never in patients with OCD. Few patients with schizophrenia had detectable amounts of IFN-gamma in CSFL. We conclude that there is a relative skewing of CSFL profiles toward type 1 cytokines in patients with OCD, whereas in schizophrenia the relative preponderance is toward type 2 mediators. Patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder exhibited profiles intermediate between OCD and schizophrenia. We infer that cell-mediated immunity may be involved in the etiopathogenesis of OCD, whereas a relative lack of cell-mediated immunity and involvement of humoral immunity may be present in schizophrenia. These data provide a rationale for immune-based strategies of study and therapeutics in childhood neuropsychiatric disease.