Alterations in neuronal gene expression have been proposed to account for permanent changes in brain function such as learning and memory. In particular, it has been suggested that protooncogenes such as c-fos may be rapidly induced in conditions that lead to neuronal plasticity and evoke permanent changes in the expression of effector genes. Concentrations of the c-fos proto-oncogene increase rapidly following depolarization-induced calcium influx in non-dividing neuronally differentiated PC 12 cells. Recently, the presence and induction of c-fos in the adult brain and spinal cord has been observed. Here we report that electrically-induced seizure activity, which leads to a permanent increase in the response of the brain to future seizures (kindling), rapidly and transiently increases c-fos protein-like immunoreactivity in the nuclei of granule cells in the rat dentate gyrus. These results suggest that c-fos protein is present within the nuclei of adult mammalian neurons, and could be involved in plastic changes in the nervous system associated with seizure activity.