1. Rhythmic cortical activity was investigated with intracellular recordings in cortex-striatum-mesencephalon organotypic cultures grown for 42 +/- 3 (SE) days in vitro. 2. Electrical stimulation of supragranular layers induced a self-sustained high-frequency oscillation (HFO) in pyramidal neurons and interneurons. 3. The HFO started 197 +/- 39 ms after stimulation and had a mean duration of 1.0 +/- 0.2 s and an initial frequency of 38 +/- 2 Hz. A decrease in frequency at a rate of 11.5 +/- 2.7 Hz/s started on average 547 +/- 109 ms after the onset of the HFO. 4. During the HFO, local interneurons and pyramidal neurons synchronized their activities. The synaptic origin of the HFO was confirmed by its reversal potential at -57 +/- 4 mV. 5. These results suggest that a self-maintained HFO can be induced in local cortical circuits by excitation of supragranular layers. This HFO would facilitate synchronization between distant cortical and thalamic regions.