An in vitro mouse hemisected spinal cord was used to characterize the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor type B (GABA(B)) modulation of the ventral root potential (VRP) in response to electrical stimulation of the dorsal root (DR). Low-intensity (LI) and high-intensity (HI) stimulation induced VRPs with progressively higher amplitude and duration. Repetitive HI-stimulation of the DR (1-10 Hz) produced windup. The selective GABA(B) receptor agonist, CGP35024, inhibited the VRPs in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibitory action of CGP35024 was blocked by CGP52432, a potent GABA(B) receptor antagonist. Following washout of the GABA(B) receptor agonist, VRPs and windup were significantly enhanced. The rebound increase of the VRP following removal of CGP35024 was also blocked by the GABA(B) receptor antagonist, CGP52432. This phenomenon is not linked to receptor desensitization, but rather due to GABA(B) receptor-induced hyperactivity of N-, P/Q-type Ca(2+) channels, as omega-CgTx GVIA and MVIIC abolished/prevented the increase. The 'rebound' enhancement of the spinal transmission after exposure to GABA(B) agonists sheds light on the possible mechanism of the severe withdrawal effects after abrupt termination of baclofen treatment in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.