Specific [3H]MK801 binding to rat brain NMDA receptors after the administration of the convulsant drug 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MP) and the adenosine analogue cyclopentyladenosine (CPA) was studied by means of a quantitative autoradiographic method. MP administration (150 mg/kg, i.p.) caused significant decreases in [3H]MK801 binding in several hippocampus subareas and layers, mainly in CA1 and CA3 at seizure (11–27%) and postseizure (8–16%) and in cerebral occipital cortex at seizure (18–22%). In nucleus accumbens, a rise was observed at postseizure (44%) and a tendency to increase at seizure (24%). CPA (2mg/kg, i.p.) decreased ligand binding in hippocampus (CA1, CA2, CA3) (17–22%) and in occipital cerebral cortex (18–24%). When CPA was administered 30 minutes before MP (which delayed seizure onset) and rats were sacrified at seizure, decreases in [3H]MK801 binding in several layers of CA1 and CA3 of hippocampus (11–27%) and in CA1, CA2, CA3 (24–35%) after CPA+MP postseizure, and an increase in CA2 after CPA and CPA+MP postseizure (20–34%), were observed. A drop was found in the occipital subarea (18–24%) after CPA and in the frontal and occipital subarea after CPA+MP postseizure (24–34%) while no changes were observed in any treatment involving the other cerebral cortex regions, thalamic nuclei, caudate putamen and olfactory tubercle. These results show that [3H]MK801 binding changes according to drug treatment and the area being studied, thus indicating a different role in seizure activity.