Long-term potentiation (LTP) of inhibitory synaptic transmission in rat visual cortex was investigated using intracellular recording in slice preparations. The inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP) of layer V cells evoked monosynaptically by layer IV stimulation was recorded while excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) were blocked by adding NMDA and non-NMDA receptor antagonists to the perfusate. Separate presynaptic fiber groups were activated by two stimulating electrodes placed in layer IV. One electrode was used to test the effect of conditioning stimulation; the other served as a control. Trains of high- frequency stimulation (50 Hz, 1 sec) were applied at an interval of 10 sec as a conditioning stimulation. The LTP of IPSP induced by the conditioning stimulation had properties similar to those known for LTP of EPSP in hippocampal CA1: (1) it was specific to the conditioned pathway; (2) repetitive application of the conditioning stimulation saturated the LTP; (3) LTP was induced by conditioning stimulation at intensities higher than a threshold; (4) weak conditioning stimulation to one pathway, which alone failed to induce LTP, induced associative LTP when strong conditioning stimulation was simultaneously applied to the other pathway; (5) weak conditioning stimulation sometimes induced short-term potentiation. In contrast to these similarities, LTP of IPSP was induced by a wider range of stimulus frequencies than that capable of generating LTP of EPSPs in CA1. It was induced not only by a brief high-frequency stimulation but also by an intermediate-frequency (2 Hz) stimulation continued for 5 min. In addition, the LTP induction was not dependent on postsynaptic membrane potential. Finally, the LTP of IPSP was more easily induced in developing than in mature rats. This age dependence suggests that LTP of IPSPs may contribute to the improvement of response selectivity of visual cortical cells through visual experience during postnatal development.