We studied the effects of chloramphenicol on brain glucose utilization and sleep-wake cycles in rat. After slightly anaesthetized animals were injected with [18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose, we acquired time-concentration curves from three radiosensitive beta microprobes inserted into the right and left frontal cortices and the cerebellum, and applied a three-compartment model to calculate the cerebral metabolic rates for glucose. The sleep-wake cycle architecture was analysed in anaesthetic-free rats by recording electroencephalographic and electromyographic signals. Although chloramphenicol is a well-established inhibitor of oxidative phosphorylation, no compensatory increase in glucose utilization was detected in frontal cortex. Instead, chloramphenicol induced a significant 23% decrease in the regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose. Such a metabolic response indicates a potential mismatch between energy supply and neuronal activity induced by chloramphenicol administration. Regarding sleep-wake states, chloramphenicol treatment was followed by a 64% increase in waking, a 20% decrease in slow-wave sleep, and a marked 59% loss in paradoxical sleep. Spectral analysis of the electroencephalogram indicates that chloramphenicol induces long-lasting modifications of delta-band power during slow-wave sleep.