The present study was designed to examine the ability of different quinolones to affect the seizure severity and the latency of development of chemical kindling produced by repeated treatment using a subconvulsant dose of pentylenetetrazole (PTZ). A group of mice (kindled control) were treated subcutaneously (s.c.) with vehicle + PTZ (30 mg/kg, three times a week) for 6 consecutive weeks and the changes in excitability associated with the kindling state were observed over the following 2 h. A second group of mice were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with the following quinolone derivatives, ciprofloxacin (ciprox), pefloxacin (peflox), ofloxacin (oflox), cinoxacin (cinox), nalidixic acid (nalidixic), 1-cyclopropyl-6-amino-7-tetrahydroisoquinoline-8-methyl-4-oxo-1,4-dihydr oquinoline-3-carboxylic acid (M5) and 1-cyclopropyl-7-tetrahydro-isoquinoline-8-methyl-4-oxo-1,4-dihydroquinol ine-3-carboxylic acid (MH5) at a dose of 20 mg/kg 15 min before receiving a subconvulsant dose of PTZ (30 mg/kg, s.c.). The results showed that pretreatment with some of the quinolones tested facilitated the development of kindling to PTZ-induced seizures. In particular, ciprox, peflox, oflox, M5 and MH5 derivatives variously increased the development of kindling to PTZ induced seizures, whilst cinox and nalidix did not significantly affect it. Additionally we determined whether the enhanced susceptibility of kindled mice only occurred after relatively short intervals following the last seizure or whether it was a more permanent phenomenon. For the study of the persistence of kindling, the animals were rechallenged with the kindling stimulus (PTZ 25 mg/kg, s.c.) 15 and 30 days after the last injection of the chronic treatment with PTZ (30 mg/kg, s.c.) and the behavioural changes in the kindled mice were compared with the control ones (chronically treated with vehicle). The present data demonstrated that kindling produced long-lasting alterations, substantiating that epileptogenesis initiated by kindling renders the brain more susceptible to central nervous system (CNS) side effects of quinolones. An interaction between PTZ and quinolone derivatives which involves either an inhibition of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission or/and an increase in the function of the excitatory amino acid (EAA) system is suggested.