Free amino acid patterns of cerebrospinal fluid in infants and children with various types of convulsive disorders were compared with those in age-matched normal subjects. The total free amino levels in Lennox syndrome were higher than the normal values, and those in infantile spasms controlled by ACTH were higher than those in uncontrolled infantile spasms. Although the levels of only one or two amino acids in tonic-clonic seizure, focal seizure and febrile seizure were higher or lower than those of the controls, the levels of 8 amino acids in infantile spasms were lower and those of 10 amino acids in Lennox syndrome were generally higher compared to the controls. Among amino acids in CSF of children with tonic-clonic seizure, infantile spasms or Lennox syndrome, only the ornithine level was commonly lower than that of the controls. After the treatment, in tonic-clonic seizure, the levels of taurine, asparagine and glycine were increased, and in infantile spasms, those of asparagine, glutamine, glycine, alanine, phenylalanine, lysine and arginine were increased while that of taurine was decreased. These results suggest that each type of convulsive disorder shows the specific amino acid pattern, and the effects of anticonvulsants may be partially understood through the changes of the free amino acid patterns in the brain.