The basic membrane characteristics of neurons in layers II and III of the medial entorhinal cortex (MEA) were recorded using the intracellular current clamp technique in in vitro slices of the rat brain. Two types of cells were distinguished according to the presence of a time-dependent inward rectification (SAG current) with hyperpolarizing current pulses. The cells in which this inward rectification was not observed (No-SAG cells) had a larger input resistance, a more negative resting membrane potential and a more depolarized firing threshold. They more often displayed a strongly adapting firing pattern, and their action potentials had a slower decay rate and lacked a depolarizing afterpotential, compared with the SAG cells. SAG cells typically had a prominent rebound depolarization at the end of a hyperpolarizing current and membrane potential oscillations (7 Hz) upon subthreshold depolarizations. Cs+ blocked the time-dependent inward rectification. The rebound depolarization persisted, even in the presence of tetrodotoxin. Biocytin labelling showed that layer III consisted mainly of pyramidal-shaped cells. Most layer III cells were of the No-SAG type. All cells in layer II, stellate and pyramidal cells, were classified as SAG cells. We conclude that the cells in MEA layers II and III display different electroresponsiveness, but that this appears to be more related to the layer where they are located than to a specific morphology. As layer III consisted mainly of cells of the No-SAG type, we suggest that layer III cells are less excitable than the SAG type layer II cells.