1. Using simultaneous recordings of the field EPSP and the population spike in the CA1 neurons of guinea pig hippocampal slices, we confirmed that delivery of a high-frequency stimulation (tetanus: 100 pulses at 100 Hz) produced robust long-term potentiation of synaptic efficacy (LTP) in two independent components, a synaptic component that increases field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and a component that results in a larger population spike amplitude for a given EPSP size (E-S potentiation). 2. In the same cells, reversal of LTP (depotentiation; DP) in the field EPSP and in the E-S component is achieved by delivering low-frequency afferent stimulation (LFS: 1 Hz, 1000 pulses) 20 min after the tetanus. 3. When the tetanus or LFS was applied to CA1 inputs in the presence of an adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, 8-cyclopentyltheophylline (1 microM), the field EPSP was enhances in LTP and attenuated in DP, while the E-S relationship was not significantly affected in either LTP or DP. 4. When similar experiments were performed using an A2 receptor antagonist, CP-66713 (10 microM), the field EPSP was blocked in LTP but facilitated in DP, while E-S potentiation was enhanced during both LTP and DP. 5. The results show that endogenous adenosine, acting via A1 or A2 receptors, modulates both the synaptic and the E-S components of the induction and reversal of LTP. Based on the results, we discuss the key issue of the contribution of these receptors to the dynamics of neuronal plasticity modification in hippocampal CA1 neurons.