The aim of this work was to clarify whether maternal lithium chloride (LiCl) exposure disrupts the neonatal neuroendocrine-cytokine axis. Pregnant Wistar rats were orally administrated 50 mg LiCl/kg b.wt. from gestational day (GD) 1 to postpartum day 28. Maternal administration of LiCl-induced a hypothyroid state in both dams and their neonates compared to the control dams and neonates at lactation days (LDs) 14, 21 and 28, where the levels of serum free triiodothyronine (FT3) and free thyroxin (FT4) were decreased and the level of serum thyrotropin (TSH) level was increased. A noticeable depression in maternal body weight gain, neonatal body weight, and neonatal serum growth hormone (GH) was observed on all examined postnatal days (PNDs; 14, 21 & 28). A single abortion case was recorded at GD 17, and three dead neonates were noted at birth in the LiCl-treated group. Maternal administration of LiCl disturbed the levels of neonatal serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), interferon-gamma (INF-γ), leptin, adiponectin, and resistin at all tested PNDs compared to the control group. This administration produced a stimulatory action on the level of neonatal cerebral serotonin (5-HT) at PND 14 and on the level of neonatal cerebral norepinephrine (NE) at PNDs 21 and 28. However, this administration produced an inhibitory action on the level of neonatal cerebral dopamine (DA) at all examined PNDs and on the level of neonatal cerebral NE at PND 14 and the level of neonatal cerebral 5-HT at PNDs 21 and 28 compared to the corresponding control group. Thus, maternal LiCl exposure-induced hypothyroidism disrupts the neonatal neuroendocrine-cytokine system, which delay cerebral development.© 2020 ISDN. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.