Summary: The innate immune reaction takes place in the brain during immunogenic challenges, injury, and disease. Such a response is highly regulated by numerous anti-inflammatory mechanisms that may directly affect the ultimate consequences of such a reaction within the cerebral environment. The neuroendocrine control of this innate immune system by glucocorticoids is critical for the delicate balance between cell survival and damage in the presence of inflammatory mediators. Glucocorticoids play key roles in regulating the expression of inflammatory genes, and they also have the ability to modulate numerous functions that may ultimately lead to brain damage or repair after injury. Here we review these mechanisms and discuss data supporting both neuroprotective and detrimental roles of the neuroendocrine control of innate immunity.