1. Neocortical brain slices were prepared from rats (35-50 days of age) and maintained in vitro. Intracellular recordings were obtained from neurons in cortical layers II/III. The effect of bath application of cyclothiazide (CYZ), a potent blocker of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPA) receptor desensitization, on evoked synaptic activity and passive membrane properties was investigated. 2. Bath application of CYZ did not significantly affect resting membrane potential, input resistance, or repetitive firing. CYZ increased both the amplitude and duration of evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). Polysynaptic responses were also augumented. These effects persisted after the blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors with D-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (D-APV). The magnitude of these effects appeared to vary directly with stimulation intensity and presumably, amount of glutamate release. 3. Epileptiform activity was induced by bath application of bicuculline methiodide. The amplitude and duration of evoked paroxysmal discharges were increased by CYZ. Similar results were seen in presence of D-APV. 4. These results indicate that CYZ has significant effects on synaptic transmission. Desensitization of non-NMDA receptors may be an important mechanism for determining the time course of EPSPs and in curtailing epileptiform responses in the rat neocortex.