Testosterone (T), the principal androgen secreted by the testes, can have antiseizure effects. Some of these effects may be mediated by T's metabolites. T is metabolized to 3alpha-androstanediol (3alpha-diol). T, but not 3alpha-diol, binds androgen receptor. We investigated effects of 3alpha-diol (1 mg/kg, SC) and/or an androgen receptor blocker (flutamide 10 mg, SC), 1 hour prior to administration of pentylenetetrazol (85 mg/kg, IP). Juvenile male rats administered 3alpha-diol had less seizure activity than those administered vehicle. Flutamide had no effects. T is aromatized to 17beta-estradiol (E(2)), which, like 3alpha-diol, acts at estrogen receptors (ERs). Selective estrogen receptor modulators that favor ERalpha (propyl pyrazole triol, 17alpha-E(2)) or ERbeta (diarylpropionitrile, coumestrol, 3alpha-diol), or both (17beta-E(2)), were administered (0.1 mg/kg, SC) to juvenile male rats 1 hour before pentylenetetrazol. Estrogens with activity at ERbeta, but not those selective for ERalpha, produced antiseizure effects. Actions at ERbeta may underlie some antiseizure effects of T's metabolites.