We investigated the role of excitatory amino acid receptors in mechanical hyperalgesia induced by subcutaneous injection of Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA) into the rat hind paw. In normal rats, an intraplantar (i.pl.) injection of l-glutamate, but not of d-glutamate (3 pmol/0.1 ml each) produced a mechanical hyperalgesia in the hind paw with a lowered paw-withdrawal threshold to pressure. In rats that developed mechanical hyperalgesia associated with inflammation in the hind paw following i.pl. injection of FCA (0.15 ml), the injection of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, MK-801 (1 pmol/0.1 ml) into the inflamed paw increased the paw pressure threshold. On the other hand, the injection of non-NMDA receptor antagonist, 6-cyano-7-nitroqiunoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX, 10 pmol/0.1 ml) into the inflamed paw had no effect on FCA-induced lowering of the paw pressure threshold. The results suggest that NMDA, but not non-NMDA receptors play a substantial role in mediating the development of mechanical hyperalgesia induced in the inflamed paw following i.pl. FCA injection.