We have recently shown that activation of the immune system with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) results in memory-processing deficits for the passive avoidance learning task in the day-old chick. The current study examined two important issues in understanding the mechanisms underlying these memory deficits associated with immune system activation, namely, whether LPS (1) impairs Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase functioning and (2) increases corticosterone (CORT) concentrations in chicks trained on the task. As the effects of LPS on sickness behavior have only previously been characterized in older chickens, this study also tested whether LPS is able to produce similar alterations in day-old chicks. LPS decreased brain Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase activity and increased plasma concentrations of CORT in chicks trained on the passive avoidance learning task. These findings give an insight into some of the mechanisms that may be responsible for the LPS-induced memory-processing deficits. Consistent with previous research in older chickens, LPS increased body temperature in a dose-dependent manner, however, only the lowest dose of LPS tested significantly decreased food intake in the day-old chicks.