In the CNS, fine processes of astrocytes often wrap around dendrites, axons and synapses, which provides an interface where neurons and astrocytes might interact. We have reported previously that selective Ca2+ elevation in astrocytes, by photolysis of caged Ca2+ by o-nitrophenyl-EGTA (NP-EGTA), causes a kainite receptor-dependent increase in the frequency of spontaneous inhibitory post-synaptic potentials (sIPSCs) in neighboring interneurons in hippocampal slices. However, tetrodotoxin (TTX), which blocks action potentials, reduces the frequency of miniature IPSCs (mIPSCs) in interneurons during Ca2+ uncaging by an unknown presynaptic mechanism. In this study we investigate the mechanism underlying the presynaptic inhibition. We show that Ca2+ uncaging in astrocytes is accompanied by a decrease in the amplitude of evoked IPSCs (eIPSCs) in neighboring interneurons. The decreases in eIPSC amplitude and mIPSC frequency are prevented by CPPG, a group II/III metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) antagonist, but not by the AMPA/kainate and NMDA receptor antagonists CNQX/CPP. Application of either the group II mGluR agonist DCG IV or the group III mGluR agonist L-AP4 decreased the amplitude of eIPSCs by a presynaptic mechanism, and both effects are blocked by CPPG. Thus, activation of mGluRs mediates the effects of Ca2+ uncaging on mIPSCs and eIPSCs. Our results indicate that Ca2+-dependent release of glutamate from astrocytes can activate distinct classes of glutamate receptors and differentially modulate inhibitory synaptic transmission in hippocampal interneurons.