Interleukin-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) is a constitutively expressed and secreted protein that lacks a transmembrane domain. IL-18BP binds specifically to mature IL-18 and inhibits its activity. To study the immunomodulating role of IL-18BP in models of autoimmune diseases in rats, we cloned and characterized rat IL-18BP. Rat IL-18BP has 193 amino acid residues and is highly homologous to human and mouse IL-18BP. Recombinant rat IL-18BP binds to rat IL-18, reacts with antibodies to human or mouse IL-18BP, and inhibits IL-18-dependent interferon-γ (IFN-γ) production in vitro. Thus, rat IL-18BP can be employed to antagonize the proinflammatory responses induced by endogenous IL-18 in rat models of autoimmune diseases.