One function of the hippocampus is to ascertain the novelty of incoming sensations and encode significant new information into memory. The regulation of response to repeated stimuli may prevent overloading of this function by redundant sensory input. Recent pharmacological studies implicate the role of alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive nicotinic cholinergic receptors in the inhibition of hippocampal response to repeated auditory stimuli. The number of hippocampal alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive receptors has a major genetic determinant, as demonstrated by a significant variance between different inbred mouse strains. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether there was a related genetic correlation for the gating of auditory response. Nine inbred mouse strains, representing a continuum of hippocampal alpha-bungarotoxin binding, were tested for the electrophysiological response to repeated auditory stimulation, followed by whole hippocampus membrane alpha-bungarotoxin binding studies. Several parameters of the auditory evoked response showed significant genetic variance over the nine strains, and a significant correlation was found between hippocampal alpha-bungarotoxin binding and both the amplitude of the initial evoked response and its inhibition to repeated auditory stimuli. There was no correlation of the auditory evoked response with high-affinity nicotine binding. These data further support the hypothesis that alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive nicotinic receptors are involved in the regulation of hippocampal response to repeated auditory stimuli and suggest that this function is genetically controlled.