2-Chloroadenosine (0.25-1 mg/kg) significantly raised the threshold for electroconvulsions in mice. This preferential adenosine A(1) receptor agonist (at 0.125 mg/kg) significantly potentiated the protective activity of carbamazepine against maximal electroshock-induced seizures in mice. 2-Chloroadenosine (1 mg/kg) showed also anticonvulsive efficacy against pentylenetetrazol-evoked seizures, raising the CD(50) value for pentylenetetrazol from 77.2 to 93.7 mg/kg. The drug (at 0.5 mg/kg) significantly enhanced the protective action of clonazepam in this test, decreasing its ED(50) value from 0.033 to 0.011 mg/kg. Moreover, aminophylline, a non-selective adenosine receptor antagonist (5 mg/kg), and 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dimethylxanthine (8-CPX), a selective A(1) adenosine receptor antagonist (5 mg/kg) reversed the 2-chloroadenosine (0.125 mg/kg)-induced enhancement of the protective activity of carbamazepine and clonazepam. 2-Chloroadenosine administered alone or combined with antiepileptic drugs, caused neither motor nor long-term memory impairment. Finally, the adenosine A(1) agonist did not change the free plasma concentration of antiepileptics, so a pharmacokinetic factor is not probable. Summing up, 2-chloroadenosine potentiated the protective activity of both carbamazepine and clonazepam, which seems to be associated with the enhancement of purinergic transmission mediated through adenosine A(1) receptors.