The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the new anticonvulsant drug N-(2-amino-4-[fluorobenzylaminol-phenyl) carbamic acid ethyl ester (retigabine, D-23129, ASTA Medica, Dresden, Germany) on different patterns of epileptiform activity induced by 4-aminopyridine (4AP) in rat entorhinal cortex hippocampal slices. Application of 4AP (100 microM) induced in entorhinal cortex two different types of epileptiform activities; seizure-like events (SLE) and interictal epileptiform discharges (IED). Bicuculline (10 microM) changed 4AP-induced SLE and IED to recurrent epileptiform discharges (RED). IED were isolated after blockade of the SLE by glutamate receptor antagonists for alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole4-proprionic acid (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, i.e. 1,2,3,4 tetrahydro-6-nitro-2,3-dioxo-benzolflquinoxaline-7-sulfonamide (NBQX, 10 microM) and 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV, 30 microM). Anticonvulsant properties of retigabine were evaluated as effect on the frequency and amplitude of SLE, IED and RED. Retigabine suppressed all types of epileptiform events in a dose dependent and reversible manner. SLE were suppressed in 71.4 and 100% of slices by 5 and 10 microM, respectively. The frequency of IED was significantly reduced by 20 microM retigabine (40.9+/-24.5%) and IED were blocked completely by 50 microM retigabine. When IED were isolated by application of glutamate antagonists 20 microM retigabine was sufficient to block this activity completely. RED induced by combined application of bicuculline and 4AP were blocked in 71.4% of the tested slices with 100 microM retigabine. The frequency of the RED in the remaining slices was reduced by 96.1+/-6.1%. We conclude that retigabine acts on a large variety of different epileptiform activities in temporal lobe structures that are known to develop readily pharmacoresistant seizures.