We investigated the effects of lipopolysachharide (LPS) on functional and structural properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) during pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced epileptic seizures in rats. Arterial blood pressure was significantly elevated during epileptic seizures irrespective of LPS pretreatment. Plasma levels of interleukin (IL)-1, interleukin (IL)-6, nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (NDA) increased while catalase concentrations decreased in animals treated with LPS, PTZ and LPS plus PTZ. The significantly increased BBB permeability to Evans blue (EB) dye in the cerebral cortex, diencephalon and cerebellum regions of rats by PTZ-induced seizures was markedly reduced upon LPS pretreatment. Immunoreactivity for tight junction proteins, zonula occludens-1 and occludin, did not change in brain vessels of animals treated with PTZ and LPS plus PTZ. Glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity was increased in LPS, but not in PTZ and LPS plus PTZ. These results indicate that LPS pretreatment reduces the passage of EB dye bound to albumin into the brain, at least partly, by increasing plasma NO and IL-6 levels during PTZ-induced epileptic seizures. We suggest that LPS may provide protective effects on the BBB integrity during epileptic seizures through transcellular pathway, since the paracellular route remained unaffected by LPS and LPS plus PTZ. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.