Glutamate significantly increased levels of spontaneous chemiluminescence (CL) in rat hippocampal slices incubated under hypoxic conditions. Although it has been previously shown that guanine nucleotides (GN) displace glutamate from several of its receptors, in our study only GMP, as well as the glutamate antagonist MK-801, was able to reverse the increase in CL provoked by glutamate. On the other hand, not only GTP or Gpp(NH)p failed to reverse the action of glutamate, but they increased CL production like glutamate. This effect of GTP/Gpp(NH)p was also reversed by GMP. We concluded that, under neurotoxic conditions, GMP acted as an antagonist and GTP or Gpp(NH)p acted as agonists of glutamate. These results reinforced the evidence of the existence of extracellular site(s) for GN and indicated a possible role for GN in excitotoxicity.