Recognition of two isoforms of cyclooxygenase and reports that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be beneficial in devastating neurological conditions such as Alzheimers disease have led to increased interest in cyclooxygenase function in the nervous system. In the present paper we review current data on the multiplicity of cyclooxygenase and prostaglandin mediated effects in the central nervous system (CNS). We discuss CNS cells types, including neurons, glia, and cerebrovascular elements, where cyclooxygenases-1 and -2 are expressed under normal conditions or can be induced by physiological or pathological stimuli. We also address physiological processes such as pain sensitization, CNS inflammation and fever induction that are regulated or modified by cyclooxygenase activity. Finally, we describe potential roles of cyclooxygenase in neurological diseases and rationales for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, stroke and CNS injury.