The effect of intermittent seizures on the pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus is largely unknown. To determine whether recurrent seizures centered in the hippocampus can produce neuronal loss in this region, a morphometric analysis was performed from standardized sections of hippocampus using 5 groups of animals: (1) surgical control subjects, (2) rats kindled by the rapidly recurring hippocampal seizure (RRHS) paradigm, (3) kindled rats with a few additional limbic seizures (528 +/- 66 seizures), (4) kindled rats with many limbic seizures (1,523 +/- 130 seizures), and (5) rats experiencing limbic status epilepticus (SE) induced by "continuous" hippocampal stimulation. The RRHS and SE protocols induced significant neuronal loss in the CA1 region, but no evidence was found for additional cell loss with increasing numbers of intermittent seizures. These intermittent seizures were, however, associated with a significant thickening of the basal and apical dendritic fields of the CA1 region. These findings indicate that intermittent seizures produce no significant hippocampal neuronal loss and may result in a hypertrophy of CA1 dendritic fields.