Open channel blockers of NMDA receptors interact with the channel gate in different ways. Compounds like MK-801 and phencyclidine exhibit pronounced trapping block, whereas 9-aminoacridine and tetrapentylammonium cannot be trapped. Some blockers such as memantine and amantadine exhibit intermediate properties, so called 'partial trapping'. To analyze the determinants of trapping we have synthesized a series of mono- and dicationic derivatives of phenylcyclohexyl. The blocking action of these compounds as well as that of amantadine has been studied on native NMDA receptors of hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Use-dependence and kinetics of the blockade have been analyzed to estimate the degree of trapping. Dimensions of the blocking molecules apparently do not correlate with their trapping. However, the degree of trapping is voltage-dependent and correlates with the kinetics of unblock. For instance, amantadine behaved as non-trapping blocker at positive voltages, but demonstrated significant trapping at negative voltages. The data may be explained by the model in which the NMDA receptor channel has two binding sites: the shallow and deep ones. Binding to the deep but not to the shallow site allows trapping of the blockers.