The wasp venom philanthotoxin-4.3.3 (PhTX-4.3.3) is an antagonist of glutamate transmission in the insect as well as in the mammalian brain. It was recently shown that PhTX-4.3.3 inhibits the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) transmission in rat hippocampus. In this study we show that dideaza-philanthotoxin-12 (dideaza-PhTX-12), an analogue of PhTX-4.3.3, is a potent antagonist of voltage-dependent Ca2+ currents in rat hippocampal CA1 neurons. At a concentration of 10 mu M it reduces the Ca2+ current to 40%. Two voltage-dependent potassium currents, the A current and the delayed rectifier, were hardly affected by dideaza-PhTX-12, indicating selectivity of the drug for Ca2+ currents. As a consequence the philanthotoxins will inhibit the calcium influx via voltage dependent as well as NMDA mediaded calcium channels and thus reduce excitability in the hippocampus.