"Fast chemical stimulation" was shown to induce potentiation of glutamate-activated currents in neurons isolated from rat hippocampus. A fast application system allowed solution changes up to a rate of 20 Hz. In Mg2+-free solution, the response to glutamate application immediately after repetitive stimulation with glutamate plus glycine was increased by 25%-88%, returning to control levels over 10-15 min. Enhancement of glutamate-induced currents was also seen after stimulation with solutions containing aspartate or NMDA plus glycine. Aspartate-induced currents were not potentiated. These and other observations demonstrate that in a purely "postsynaptic" system, short-term potentiation can be induced and is mediated via NMDA receptors whereas the potentiated current is carried via non-NMDA glutamate receptor channels.