The elevated plus maze (EPM) is an animal model of anxiety used to test the effects of anxioselective drugs. The loss of the anxiolytic effect of drugs during the second exposure to the EPM is called the "one trial tolerance" (OTT) phenomenon. The present study was designed to investigate the relationship between the OTT phenomenon and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor blockade in the early developmental period of rats. NMDA receptor blockade was accomplished using MK-801 treatment given between postnatal days 20-30. Beginning on postnatal day 20, the rats were subcutaneously injected with MK-801 twice a day at the nape of the neck for a period of 10 days (0.25 mg/kg). Increased open arm exploration was observed in MK-801-treated rats during trial 1 (p = 0.001) and trial 2 (p = 0.003). The rats spent less time in the closed arms as compared to the saline animals in trial 1 (p = 0.006), and this time decreased further in trial 2 (p = 0.02). The fecal boli of the MK-801 group was decreased in trial 1 as compared to the saline group (p = 0.01), but was not significantly different in trial 2 (p = 0.08). In conclusion, NMDA receptor blockade using MK-801 produced an anxiolytic-like effect in trials 1 and 2. Furthermore, OTT was not affected by NMDA receptor blockade.