The CA1 pyramidal neurons in the hippocampus contain a high density of adrenal corticosteroid receptors. By intracellular recording, CA1 neurons in slices from adrenalectomized rats have been found to display a markedly reduced afterhyperpolarization (that is, the hyperpolarizing phase after a brief depolarizing current pulse) when compared with their sham controls. No differences were found for other tested membrane properties. Brief exposure of hippocampal slices from adrenalectomized rats to glucocorticoid agonists, 30 to 90 minutes before recording, greatly enhanced the afterhyperpolarization. In addition, glucocorticoids attenuated the norepinephrine-induced blockade of action potential accommodation in CA1 neurons. The findings indicate that glucocorticoids can reduce transmitter-evoked excitability in the hippocampus, presumably via a receptor-mediated genomic action.