Monosynaptic and polysynaptic responses of CA3 pyramidal cells (PC) to stimulation of the dentate gyrus (DG) are normally blocked by glutamate receptor antagonists (GluRAs). However, after kindled seizures, GluRAs block the monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) and isolate a monosynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP), suggesting that mossy fibers release GABA. However, kindling epilepsy induces neuronal sprouting, which can underlie this fast inhibitory response. To explore this possibility, the synaptic responses of PC to DG stimulation were analyzed in kindled epileptic rats, with and without seizures, and in nonepileptic rats, immediately after a single pentylenetetrazol (PTZ)-induced seizure, in which sprouting is unlikely to have occurred. Excitatory and inhibitory synaptic responses of PC to DG stimulation were blocked by GluRAs in control cells and in cells from kindled nonseizing rats, confirming that inhibitory potentials are disynaptically mediated. However, a fast IPSP could be evoked in kindled epileptic rats and in nonepileptic rats after a single PTZ-induced seizure. The same response was induced after rekindling the epileptic nonseizing rats. This IPSP has an onset latency that parallels that of the control EPSP and is not altered under low Ca(2+) medium or halothane perfusion. In addition, it was reversibly depressed by L(+)-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (L-AP4), which is known to inhibit transmitter release from mossy fibers. These results demonstrate that seizures, and not the synaptic rearrangement due to an underlying epileptic state, induce the emergence of fast inhibition in the DG-CA3 system, and suggest that the mossy fibers underlie this plastic change.