In this study, the acute effect of 3-nitropropionic acid was investigated on open field and startle behavior of rats, and on their cortical electrical activity. Spontaneous locomotor activity, acoustic startle response, and pre-pulse inhibition of acoustic startle were measured in male Wistar rats (10 weeks old, 180?200 g body weight) after a single dose of 10 or 20 mg/kg i.p. 3-nitropropionic acid. After the behavioral tests, the rats were anaesthetized, and spontaneous cortical electrical activity was recorded. The vertical, horizontal and local open field performance showed dose-dependent deterioration in the rats treated with 3-nitropropionic acid. The number of ?noise-positive' startle responses showed non-significant changes, but the inhibition by pre-pulse was significantly reduced in the high dose animals. High dose also increased the proportion of low-frequencies in the cortical activity. 3-nitropropionic acid, known primarily to act in repeated doses (e.g., in animal models of Huntington's disease) had also some clear-cut acute effects on behavioral and electrophysiological parameters of the treated rats.