We investigated whether the severity of blood-brain barrier disruption caused by pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures is modified by long-term nitric oxide synthase inhibition in rats. Rats were given N-omega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, in drinking water for 4 weeks, and then treated with pentylenetetrazole to induce seizures. Damage to the blood-brain barrier was investigated using Evans blue dye extravasation. Serum nitric oxide concentration was decreased in L-NAME-treated rats (P < 0.01). L-NAME and/or pentylenetetrazole treatments elevated systolic blood pressure of animals (P < 0.01). L-NAME caused an increase in the mortality rate after pentylenetetrazole injection leading to the death of animals at about 15 min after the onset of the seizure. Pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures in rats treated with L-NAME caused a significant increase in Evans blue dye extravasation into cerebral cortex, diencephalon and cerebellum, as compared with seizures evoked by pentylenetetrazole injection to L-NAME-untreated rats (P < 0.01). Data presented here suggest that the degree of blood-brain barrier disruption induced by seizures is more pronounced in long-term nitric oxide deficiency. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.