Kindling, induced by repeated subconvulsive electrical or chemical stimulations leads to progressive and permanent amplification of seizure activity, culminating in generalized seizures. We report that kindling induced by electrical stimulation in the ventral hippocampus leads to a marked and transient increase in mRNA for NGF and BDNF in the dentate gyrus, the parietal cortex, and the piriform cortex. BDNF mRNA increased also in the pyramidal layer of hippocampus and in the amygdaloid complex. No change was seen in the level of HDNF/NT-3 mRNA. The increased expression of NGF and BDNF mRNAs was not influenced by pretreatment with the NMDA receptor antagonist MK801, but was partially blocked by the quisqualate, AMPA receptor antagonist NBQX. The presumed subsequent increase of the trophic factors themselves may be important for kindling-associated plasticity in specific neuronal systems in the hippocampus, which could promote hyperexcitability and contribute to the development of epileptic syndromes.