An increase of synaptic density has been found in the hippocampus, the dendate gyrus and in the entorhinal cortex of 6-week-old rats after 7 days of treatment with the peptidergic drug Cerebrolysin, its peptide preparation E021 and the diluted peptide preparation E021dil. Rats received drugs on postnatal days 1-7 (2.5 ml/kg, each day). Controls received saline. The animals were sacrificed on days 42-48 of their life, after they had undergone behavioural testing in a Morris water maze. Slices of brain were stained immunohistochemically with anti-synaptophysin, a specific marker of presynaptic terminals. The synaptophysin-immunoreactivity of presynaptic terminals was quantified using light microscopy and a computerised image analysis system. Our results showed that rats benefit from the treatment with both drugs. A significant increase in the number of synaptophysin-immunoreactive presynaptic terminals was found in the entorhinal cortex and the hippocampal subfields CA1, CA2, CA3 stratum radiatum and CA3 stratum lucidum. The increased immunoreactive presynaptic terminals found in the present study are in accordance with the positive effects of the drugs on spatial learning and memory in young rats (Gschanes & Windisch 1999).