This study tested the time-of-day dependence of the intrinsic postsynaptic properties of hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons. High-voltage-activated Ca2+ currents and the Ca(2+)- and voltage-dependent afterhyperpolarizations were examined in slices of rat brains obtained at four distinct time periods. Just after onset of the dark phase, the steady-state amplitude of the Ca2+ current (-1.24+/-0.11 nA) was significantly greater (P<0.03) than that of the light phase (-0.84+/-0.06 nA). Over the entire time range, the amplitude of the Ca2+ current correlated with plasma corticosterone levels in a U-shaped function. Furthermore, depolarization-induced excitability during the dark phase exhibited an increased spike after depolarization (3.1+/-0.1 mV) and a slower adaptation of the firing frequency (146+/-18%). These findings point to a dynamic time-of-day dependence of the CA3 neuronal properties and postsynaptic Ca2+ currents.