Effects of loreclezole (R72063), a triazole derivative with anticonvulsant properties, were studied on field potentials in rat hippocampal slices and on different patterns of low Mg(2+)-induced epileptiform activity in combined entorhinal cortex-hippocampal slices. Lowering extracellular Mg2+ induced recurrent (10-60/min), short (40-80 ms) discharges in hippocampal areas CA1 and CA3. In the entorhinal cortex (EC) up to 90 s long ictaform events associated with large negative field potential and changes in the neuronal microenvironment were generated. These seizure like events changed their characteristics after one to two hours to recurrent discharges of 0.8 to 10 s. 20 microM loreclezole blocked the seizure like events in the entorhinal cortex completely 30-80 min after onset of application. The recurrent short discharges in the hippocampus were reliably blocked by 40 muM loreclezole 60-90 min after bath application with incomplete recovery after washout of several hours. The recurrent discharges in the entorhinal cortex were reliably blocked by 80 microM loreclezole applied for 80-100 min. Decreases in [Ca2+]o and associated slow field potentials evoked by repetitive stimulation of the stratum radiatum were depressed in a dose dependent manner, while similar changes induced by alvear stimulation remained almost unaffected. A paired pulse stimulus paradigm used to test for effect of loreclezole on synaptically evoked transient field potentials in normal medium revealed interference with mechanisms involved in frequency potentiation. While responses to alvear stimulation were largely unaffected, the response to a paired pulse stimulus to stratum radiatum was depressed over the whole range of tested stimulus intervals (15 to 150 ms). The findings suggest that loreclezole has effects on different patterns of epileptiform activity induced by extracellular low Mg2+ possibly by interfering with processes leading to frequency potentiation.