The direct injection of endothelin-1 (ET-1) into brain parenchyma was recently suggested as a suitable model of stroke. The present study was designed to assess whether intrahippocampal injection of ET-1 in immature rats causes neurodegeneration and immediate seizures, and results in impairment of motor development, cognitive decline, epilepsy and chronic hippocampal lesion. ET-1 was injected unilaterally into the dorsal hippocampus in doses of 20 or 40 pmol at the age of 12 (P12) or 25 (P25) days. Video-electroencephalographic monitoring performed during 100 min after the injection of ET-1 demonstrated the development of convulsive epileptic seizures in 75-100% of animals of individual age-and-dose groups. Long-term behavioral follow-up did not reveal impairment of motor development in any dose-and-age group. At 2 months after ET-1 injection, impairment of spatial memory occurred only in rats with 40 pmol of ET-1 at P12. At 3 months after ET-1 injection spontaneous electrographic seizures occurred in 62.5-100% animals of both ages with no relation to the dose used. Seizures were always non-convulsive. The total seizure duration per 24 h was higher in the P12 than the P25 group, suggesting more severe epilepsy. The extent of the hippocampal lesion increased with the dose of ET-1 and was significantly higher in the P12 than the P25 group. The severity of the ET-1-induced lesion correlated positively with total seizure duration per 24 h at both ages. Our results document that early intrahippocampal injection of ET-1 results in lesion development and both immediate seizures and chronic epilepsy in either age group. Cognitive impairment occurred only in rats with ET-1 injection at P12.