Oligodendroglia are susceptible to alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)-mediated excitotoxicity. We hypothesized that analysis of oligodendroglial gene expression would provide a sensitive indicator of acute excitotoxic oligodendroglial injury in the immature brain. AMPA (2 nmol) was injected intracerebroventricularly in 7-day-old rats. Proteolipid protein and myelin basic protein encoding mRNAs were evaluated 24-48 h later by semi-quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction assays. AMPA markedly suppressed brain tissue content of oligodendroglial mRNAs.