Prolonged early-life seizures are considered potential risk factors for later epilepsy development, but mediators of this process remain largely unknown. Seizure-induced structural damage in hippocampus, including cell loss and mossy fiber sprouting, is thought to contribute to the hyperexcitability characterizing epilepsy, but a causative role has not been established. To determine whether early-life insults that lead to epilepsy result in similar structural changes, we subjected rat pups to lithium-pilocarpine–induced status epilepticus during postnatal development (day 20) and examined them as adults for the occurrence of spontaneous seizures and alterations in hippocampal morphology. Sixty-seven percent of rats developed spontaneous seizures after status epilepticus, yet only one third of these epileptic animals exhibited visible hippocampal cell loss or mossy fiber spouting in dentate gyrus. Most epileptic rats had no apparent structural alterations in the hippocampus detectable using standard light microscopy methods (profile counts and Timm's staining). These results suggest that hippocampal cell loss and mossy fiber sprouting can occur after early-life status epilepticus but may not be necessary prerequisites for epileptogenesis in the developing brain. Ann Neurol 2003