DNA binding by transcripton factor AP-1 was enhanced remarkably following kindling stimulation in rat amygdala. Maximum increase occurred 2 h after stimulation with return to baseline within 24 h. Supershift and western analyses revealed that 38,000 mol. wt Fos-related antigen and JunD were the main components of the evoked AP-1 complexes at the time their induction reached maximum. AP-1 induction 2 h after the last kindling stimulation was more prominent in samples from previously kindled rats than in those from non-kindled rats. This study sought to establish the role of AP-1 in plastic changes of the hippocampus associated with kindling. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were kindled from the left amygdala until they exhibited Racine15 class 5 generalized seizures. Nuclear proteins were extracted from dorsal hippocampi obtained from 0 to 24 h after final stimulations. From these, we evaluated the temporal pattern of DNA binding by AP-1 using a gel mobility-shift assay with a 32P-labelled AP-1 probe. Supershift and western analyses were added to investigate components of the seizure-evoked AP-1 complexes. Our results suggest that the basal level of AP-1 complexes is not associated with the seizure susceptibility in kindling. However, development of kindling appears to facilitate stimulus-evoked AP-1 induction, probably via plastic changes in the central nervous system. AP-1 may mediate such changes by regulating expression of certain genes.