Caspase-3 expression was determined in the hippocampus of electrically kindled rats with and without topiramate treatment. Bipolar electrotrodes were implanted for chronic stimulation of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) to achieve a kindled state. Seizure and behavioral responses were observed, and video-electroencephalograms were recorded during and after kindling. After topiramate treatment (80 mg/kg, p.o.), the hippocampi were extracted and caspase-3 mRNA analyzed by semiquantitative RT-PCR. Caspase-3 immunoreactivity was determined with immunohistochemical staining. Topiramate treatment resulted in a significant decrease in the mean duration of seizures from 52 s in kindled rats to 13 s. The after-discharge duration was significantly decreased by 70% after topiramate treatment. Significant upregulations of both caspase-3 mRNA and caspase-3 immunoreactivity were observed in the kindled rats. These kindling-mediated increases in caspase-3 were prevented by topiramate treatment, and these levels were not different from those of sham-operated controls. In BLA-kindled rats, mRNA and immunoreactivity for caspase-3 were increased. Treatment with topiramate prevented the kindling-associated increases in caspase-3 as well as the increases in seizure duration and after-discharge duration. These data suggest that topiramate may have a neuroprotective role in addition to its action as an anticonvulsant.