The aim of this study was to investigate the interaction between nitric oxide (NO) and acetylcholine (ACh) in penicillin-induced experimental epilepsy. Adult male Wistar rats weighing 220 +/- A 35 g were used in the experiments. The epileptiform activity was induced by microinjection of penicillin (200 IU/1 mu l) into the left sensorymotor cortex. Electrocorticogram was recorded by using Ag/AgCl ball electrodes. Sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a NO donor, given intracortically 30 min after penicillin significantly reduced the spike frequency whereas ACh increased the epileptiform activity for 5 min. Atropine, an antagonist for muscarinic receptors, was given intracortically 30 min after penicillin and did not significantly affect epileptiform activity for 30 min. SNP given after atropine significantly suppressed the epileptiform activity. ACh given 10 min after N omega-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), a nonspecific nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, did not have a significant effect on spike frequency. When ACh and SNP were administered together, penicillin induced epileptiform activity and spike frequency were significantly suppressed from the 10th minute onwards. It can be concluded that ACh increases the penicillin-induced epileptiform activity while co-administration of ACh and SNP produces a potent anticonvulsant effect as compared to SNP alone.