Recurrent seizure activity induced during kindling has been reported to produce a functional synaptic reorganization of the mossy fibers in the hippocampus. To date, it is unclear whether this kindling-induced growth is secondary to decreases in hilar neuron density, which are presumed to reflect hilar neuronal cell loss, or whether it is related specifically to an activation-dependent plasticity. We recently demonstrated that blocking nerve growth factor (NGF) biological activity retards seizure development and inhibits the sprouting of mossy fibers. We now demonstrate that intraventricular administration of NGF itself accelerates the progression of kindling epileptogenesis, increases mossy fiber sprouting in the CA3 region and in the inner molecular layer (IML), but reduces seizure-induced decreases in hilar cell density. These findings provide support for a role of NGF in kindling and kindling-induced mossy fiber sprouting. In addition, the results dissociate this form of epileptogenesis from hilar cell loss or decreases in hilar cell density attributable to increases in hilar area, thereby supporting seizure-induced mossy fiber sprouting as being primarily attributable to the combined effects of neuronal activation and the activation-induced upregulation of growth factors.