The opioid receptor antagonists, naloxone and beta-chlornaltrexamine, were used to determine whether activation of endogenous opioid peptide containing pathways produced pharmacologically reversible opioid actions. Extracellularly recorded responses of the hippocampal CA3 pyramidal cells were evoked by stimulation of the dynorphin-containing mossy fiber pathway. Neither naloxone nor beta-chlornaltrexamine pretreatment significantly changed the evoked response. However, both antagonists blocked the effect of applied dynorphin-A(1-17) on CA1 pyramidal cell evoked responses. Thus, our data demonstrate that if endogenous opioids are released from this pathway, the peptides cannot be responsible for the evoked response measured in hippocampal CA3 cellular field. With no direct evidence for endogenous opioid peptides acting through opioid receptors, the neurotransmitter role of dynorphins in rat hippocampus remains obscure.