The aim of the study was to determine whether (1) number of febrile convulsions is a predictor of development of temporal lobe epilepsy, (2) the susceptibility of rats to pilocarpine-induced seizures is increased due to febrile convulsions and (3) nitric oxide is a mediator in the pathogenesis of febrile convulsions. Rat pups were exposed to single or multiple hyperthermic seizures. Subconvulsant doses of pilocarpine (100 mg/kg and 150 mg/kg) were injected intraperitoneally to these rats at 60-70 days of age. Also L-arginine was applied to some rats before a single hyperthermic seizure. We found that risk of future epilepsy increases parallel to the number of febrile convulsions and nitric oxide does not have a pathogenetic role at given doses. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.