Spatio-temporal patterns of neuronal activity before and after the induction of long-term potentiation in mouse hippocampal slices were studied using a real-time high-resolution optical recording system. After staining the slices with voltage-sensitive dye, transmitted light images and extracellular field potentials were recorded in response to stimuli applied to CA1 stratum radiatum. Optical and electrical signals in response to single test pulses were enhanced for at least 30 minutes after brief high-frequency stimulation at the same site. In two-pathway experiments, potentiation was restricted to the tetanized pathway. The optical signals demonstrated that both the amplitude and area of the synaptic response were increased, in patterns not predictable from the initial, pretetanus, pattern of activation. Optical signals will be useful for investigating spatio-temporal patterns of synaptic enhancement underlying information storage in the brain.