Repeated high-frequency trains of stimuli induce long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region that persists for up to 8 hours in hippocampal slices and for days in intact animals. This long time course has made LTP an attractive model for certain forms of long-term memory in the mammalian brain. A hallmark of long-term memory in the intact animal is a requirement for transcription, and thus whether the late phase of LTP (L-LTP) requires transcription was investigated here. With the use of different inhibitors, it was found in rat hippocampal slices that the induction of L-LTP [produced either by tetanic stimulation or by application of the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) analog Sp-cAMPS (Sp-cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphorothioate)] was selectively prevented when transcription was blocked immediately after tetanization or during application of cAMP. As with behavioral memory, this requirement for transcription had a critical time window. Thus, the late phase of LTP in the CA1 region requires transcription during a critical period, perhaps because cAMP-inducible genes must be expressed during this period.