The sleep-inducing effect of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) was studied in five conscious male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) maintained in a 12-hr light/dark cycle. PGD2 was infused into the lateral or the third ventricle of the cerebrum slowly and continuously for 6 hr in the light period. Infusion of PGD2 into the lateral ventricle at 15-2250 pmol/min induced natural sleep as identified by electroencephalogram, electromyogram, electrooculogram, body temperature, heart rate, and animal behavior. Although sensitivity to PGD2 was slightly different among individual animals, the amount of total sleep time increased maximally up to 3- to 4-fold over the control level. PGD2 infused into the third ventricle induced effects similar to those observed for the lateral ventricular route, but infusion into the third ventricle was about 1000 times more effective than infusion into the lateral ventricle. In three monkeys, PGD2 increased the amount of sleep in a dose-dependent manner. Bell-shaped dose-response curves were observed for the other two monkeys. Infusion of prostaglandin E2 or F2 alpha into the lateral ventricle caused sedation but slightly reduced the amount of slow-wave sleep and produced increases in heart rate and body temperature. These findings suggest that endogenous PGD2 may be involved in the regulation of sleep by acting on the brain structures surrounding the third ventricle in the rhesus monkey.