Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum levels of 12 cytokines or chemokines important in central nervous system (CNS) infections were measured in 76 Ugandan children with cerebral malaria (CM) and 8 control children. As compared with control children, children with cerebral malaria had higher cerebrospinal fluid levels of interleukin (IL)-6, CXCL-8/IL-8, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and IL-1 receptor antagonist. There was no correlation between cerebrospinal and serum cytokine levels for any cytokine except G-CSF. Elevated cerebrospinal fluid but not serum TNF-α levels on admission were associated with an increased risk of neurologic deficits 3 months later (odds ratio 1.55, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.18, P = 0.01) and correlated negatively with age-adjusted scores for attention (Spearman rho, -0.34, P = 0.04) and working memory (Spearman rho, -0.32, P = 0.06) 6 months later. In children with cerebral malaria, central nervous system TNF-α production is associated with subsequent neurologic and cognitive morbidity.