Muscimol-stimulated radiotracer 36CI- uptake in synaptoneurosomes was used to investigate the function of the GABAA receptor complex in the CA1-3 area and fascia dentata (granular and molecular layers and hilus) of rats kindled by stimulation, twice a day, of the Schaffer collateral fibers. Two kindled groups were studied: (a) 24 h after the last generalized tonic-clonic seizure [fully kindled (FK) stage] and (b) 28 days after the last generalized seizure (long-term stage). Synaptoneurosomes were prepared in parallel from subslices of the CA1-3 area and fascia dentata. In FK animals, the muscimol-stimulated 36CI- uptake was significantly reduced by 21% in the CA1-3 area in comparison with nonstimulated controls, whereas a significant increase of 29% was found in the fascia dentata. Significant changes were no longer present at 4 weeks after the last generalized seizure. The observed changes in muscimol-stimulated 36CI- uptake at the FK stage closely parallel the recently observed changes in [3H]muscimol binding in the CA1 area and fascia dentata. These results indicate that kindling causes a transiently decreased GABAA receptor-mediated function in the CA1-3, in contrast to an increased GABAA receptor-mediated function in the fascia dentata.