GABA, which generally mediates inhibitory synaptic transmissions, occasionally acts as an excitatory transmitter through intense GABA(A) receptor activation even in adult animals. The excitatory effect results from alterations in the gradients of chloride, bicarbonate, and potassium ions, but its functional role still remains a mystery. Here we show that such GABAergic excitation participates in the expression of seizure-like rhythmic synchronization (afterdischarge) in the mature hippocampal CA1 region. Seizure-like afterdischarge was induced by high-frequency synaptic stimulation in the rat hippocampal CA1-isolated slice preparations. The hippocampal afterdischarge was completely blocked by selective antagonists of ionotropic glutamate receptors or of GABA(A) receptor, and also by gap-junction inhibitors. In the CA1 pyramidal cells, oscillatory depolarizing responses during the afterdischarge were largely dependent on chloride conductance, and their reversal potentials (average -38 mV) were very close to those of exogenously applied GABAergic responses. Moreover, intracellular loading of the GABA(A) receptor blocker fluoride abolished the oscillatory responses in the pyramidal cells. Finally, the GABAergic excitation-driven afterdischarge has not been inducible until the second postnatal week. Thus, excitatory GABAergic transmission seems to play an active functional role in the generation of adult hippocampal afterdischarge, in cooperation with glutamatergic transmissions and possible gap junctional communications. Our findings may elucidate the cellular mechanism of neuronal synchronization during seizure activity in temporal lobe epilepsy.