Maternal intrauterine inflammation during pregnancy poses a major threat of neurodevelopmental brain damage in offspring and may cause poor cognitive and perceptual outcomes. In mice, we have previously shown that maternal inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at gestation day 17th increased the levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 in the fetal brain. In this study, we used the same system and examined the effect of short, systemic maternal inflammation on anxiety and social behavior of the offspring. Adult offspring from the maternal inflammation group showed increased anxiety, as indicated by the elevated plus maze. Social interaction among offspring from the test groups was examined when two unfamiliar mice from different litters were introduced into a new home-cage. Offspring from the maternal inflammation group showed reduced activity, indicating increased fear. In addition, offspring from the maternal inflammation group were less aggressive towards their cagemates and they spent a significantly longer time trimming the whiskers of their cagemates during the first 30 min of their interaction, compared to offspring from the control group. Our data suggest that short systemic maternal inflammation have long-lasting consequences on the adult mouse stress and social behavior. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 48: 162–168, 2006.