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THE effect of sodium nitroprusside (SNP) on epileptiform activity elicited by administration of penicillin (500 units) into the somatomotor cortex was studied in anaesthetized rats. No epileptiform activity was observed after intracortical microinjection of SNP (5 and 20 nM). Microinjection of penicillin into the somatomotor cortex induced epileptiform activity in electrocorticograms (ECoG). Epileptiform discharges elicited by penicillin were significantly decreased by SNP. The effect of SNP appeared within 1 min of application and lasted for 2–5 min. The inhibitory effect of SNP on epileptiform activity could be prevented by pretreatment with methylene blue (20 nM), a soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor. Prior injection of haemoglobin (5 μl), a nitric oxide (NO) scavenger, prevented the anticonvulsant effect of SNP. These results suggest that NO may be an endogenous anticonvulsant substance.