Plastic changes in the synaptic responsiveness of neocortical neurones, which occur after rhythmic stimuli within the frequency range of sleep spindles (10 Hz), were investigated in isolated neocortical slabs and intact cortex of anaesthetized cats by means of single, dual and triple simultaneous intracellular recordings in conjunction with recordings of local field potential responses. In isolated cortical slabs (10 mm long, 6 mm wide and 4-5 mm deep), augmenting responses to pulse-trains at 10 Hz (responses with growing amplitudes from the second stimulus in a train) were elicited only by relatively high-intensity stimuli. At low intensities, responses were decremental. The largest augmenting responses were evoked in neurones located close to the stimulation site. Quantitative analyses of the number of action potentials and the amplitude and area of depolarization during augmenting responses in a population of neurones recorded from slabs showed that the most dramatic increases in the number of spikes with successive stimuli, and the greatest increase in depolarization amplitude, were found in conventional fast-spiking (FS) neurones. The largest increase in the area of depolarization was found in regular-spiking (RS) neurones. Dual intracellular recordings from a pair of FS and RS neurones in the slab revealed more action potentials in the FS neurone during augmenting responses and a significant increase in the depolarization area of the RS neurone that was dependent on the firing of the FS neurone. Self-sustained seizures could occur in the slab after rhythmic stimuli at 10 Hz. In the intact cortex, repeated sequences of stimuli generating augmenting responses or spontaneous spindles could induce an increased synaptic responsiveness to single stimuli, which lasted for several minutes. A similar time course of increased responsiveness was obtained with induction of cellular plasticity. These data suggest that augmenting responses elicited by stimulation, as well as spontaneously occurring spindles, may induce short- and medium-term plasticity of neuronal responses.