Rat brains were imaged after cortical electroshock pulse trains (1 ms pulses at 100 Hz) of varying durations (0.1-10 s), with diffusion-weighted echo planar imaging sequences at 2.0 T. The apparent water diffusion coefficient (ADC) decreased after either single or repeat electroshock trains. ADC reductions were observed within 6 s after the first shock. The size of the affected area of the brain increased in subsequent images during the 1st min after a 10-pulse (0.1 s) train, and also increased with the duration of electroshock trains. ADC reduction was reproducible in extent and time course after single 10-shock trains and was reversible. In the affected pixels the mean ADC reduction was 4% for a single shock train (0.1 s), and 7-8% for trains repeated once a minute, independent of electroshock train duration. The results indicate that neuronal activity associated with electrostimulation may be monitored with water diffusion measurements, and they may be useful for measuring the severity of seizure activity in patients with medically intractable epilepsy.