The cerebral metabolic response to bicuculline (BC)-induced status epilepticus (SE) was studied in two-week-old ketamine-anesthetized marmoset monkeys. During 30-min clonic seizures, mean blood pressure, plasma glucose and paO2 did not decrease and plasma lactate doubled. Brains were funnel-frozen and punch biopsies of frontoparietal cortex, temporal cortex and thalamus were analyzed for ATP, phosphocreatine (PCr), glucose and lactate. There were marked reductions of ATP (to 56-77% of controls), PCr (to 23-28% of controls) and glucose (to 1-4% of controls), and lactate increased 3- to 6-fold in seizure animals. NADH fluorescence increased during seizures in cerebral cortex, thalamus, amygdaloid nuclei, hippocampus, posterior striatum and hemispheric white matter. This suggests a reduced tissue redox state in these regions and is correlated with the high energy phosphate depletion and elevated lactate in cortex and thalamus. Our results demonstrate a significant depletion of energy reserves and glucose in cerebral cortex and thalamus during neonatal seizures in the absence of adverse systemic factors. These seizure-induced metabolic changes in brain could have adverse long-term effects on brain development and function.