Increasing evidence suggests that somatostatin may control neuronal excitability during epileptogenesis. In the hippocampus, sst2A receptors are likely to mediate somatostatin inhibitory actions but little is known about their status in kindled tissues. In the present study, sst2A receptor and somatostatin immunoreactivity were examined by confocal microscopy in the hippocampus during and after kindling acquisition. In control rats, somatostatin-positive axon terminals were mainly found in the stratum lacunosum moleculare of CA1 area and in the outer molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. sst2A receptor immunoreactivity was diffusely distributed in the strata radiatum and oriens of CA1 and in the stratum moleculare of the dentate gyrus. Immunogold electron microscopy revealed that sst2A receptors were predominantly localized postsynaptically, at the plasma membrane of dendritic shafts and spines of principal neurons. During kindling epileptogenesis, qualitative and semiquantitative analysis revealed a progressive decrease of sst2A immunoreactivity in the outer molecular layer, which was spatially associated with an increase in somatostatin immunoreactivity. No obvious changes in sst2A receptor immunoreactivity were observed in other hippocampal subfields. These results suggest that the decrease of sst2A receptor immunoreactivity in the outer molecular layer reflects receptor down-regulation in distal dendrites of granule cells in response to chronic somatostatin release. Because the sst2A receptor appears to mediate anticonvulsant and antiepileptogenic effects of somatostatin, this may represent a pivotal mechanism contributing to epileptogenesis.