Seizure-like burst activities are induced by blockade of GABAA and/or glycine receptors in various spinal ventral roots of brainstem-spinal cord preparation from neonatal rodents. We found that this is not applicable to the phrenic nerve and that a new inhibitory descending pathway may suppress seizure-like activity in the phrenic nerve. Experiments were performed in brainstem-spinal cord preparation from newborn rats (age: 0-1 day). Left phrenic nerve and right C4 activities were recorded simultaneously. When GABAA and glycine receptors were blocked by 10 μM bicuculline and 10 μM strychnine (Bic+Str), seizure-like burst activities appeared in the fourth cervical ventral root (C4) but not the phrenic nerve. After making a transverse section at C1, the inspiratory burst activity disappeared from both C4 and the phrenic nerve, whereas seizure-like activity appeared in both nerves. We hypothesized that inhibitory descending pathways other than those via GABAA and/or glycine receptors (from the medulla to the spinal cord) work to avoid disturbance of regular respiratory-related diaphragm contraction by seizure-like activity. We found that cannabinoid receptor antagonist, AM251 was effective for the induction of seizure-like activity by Bic+Str in the phrenic nerve in brainstem-spinal cord preparation. Cannabinoid receptors may be involved in this descending inhibitory system.