The expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha was studied in the rat hippocampus after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus by Western blot and immunocytochemistry at both light and electron microscopic levels. At 1 day after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus, there was marked decrease in metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha immunoreactivity at the border between stratum oriens and alveus in CA1 and CA3, and in the hilus of dentate gyrus. Between 3 and 31 days after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus, metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha-immunoreactive dendrites and cell bodies in the border between stratum oriens and alveus gradually reappeared. Upregulation of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha, however, was observed in the stratum oriens of CA1 at day 1, but returned to baseline by day 7. By electron microscopy, the metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha-immunoreactive product was demonstrated only in the post-synaptic elements in the border between the stratum oriens and alveus of CA1 and the hilus of the dentate gyrus in both control and experimental rats. At 1 day after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus, metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha-immunoreactive degenerating neurons were identified in the border between stratum oriens and alveus of CA1 and the hilus of the dentate gyrus. At 7 and 31 days, many degenerating axons were also found. Present results suggest that excitoneurotoxicity mediated through post-synaptic metabotropic glutamate receptor 1alpha may be involved in degeneration and death of interneurons in the hilus of dentate gyrus, and the border between stratum oriens and alveus of CA1 in the early stage after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus.