Bath application of two different concentrations of muscarine produced two different effects on evoked responses in the dentate gyrus of rat hippocampal slices. A concentration of 1 microM muscarine did not affect the evoked population spike or excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP), but facilitated the induction of LTP. In contrast, a concentration of 10 microM muscarine depressed both the population spike and EPSP, but had no effect on LTP induction. The M1 muscarinic receptor antagonist pirenzepine (1 microM) blocked the muscarine-induced facilitation of LTP, but had no effect on the depression of evoked responses. These data suggest that activation of M1 receptors can facilitate the induction of LTP.