We compared the time-dependent changes in messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels for two neurotrophic factors after amygdala-kindled seizures and hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) in rats in vivo. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA levels in the bilateral granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus, increased significantly 1-4 h after stage 5 kindled seizures. Nerve growth factor (NGF) mRNA levels increased throughout the bilateral limbic regions more gradually than those of BDNF mRNA. The maximum levels in the dentate gyrus ipsilateral to stimulation (BDNF mRNA: 493%, NGF mRNA: 199% of control levels) occurred 2 h after seizures. As observed with kindling, BDNF and NGF mRNA expression increased in the dentate gyrus ipsilateral to stimulation also increased following LTP induced by the perforant path stimulation, with maximum levels occurring 2 h and 4 h, respectively, after stimulation, when they reached 284% and 189% of the control levels, respectively. These results suggest that BDNF and NGF are involved in enhancement of synaptic efficacy in the granule cells of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus in kindling, not related to the neuronal excitability associated with seizure activity.