Previous studies have implicated phospholipase C (PLC)-linked Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in regulating the excitability of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. We used intracellular recordings from rat hippocampal slices and specific antagonists to examine in more detail the mGluR receptor subtypes and signal transduction mechanisms underlying this effect. Application of the Group I mGluR agonist (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG) suppressed slow- and medium-duration afterhyperpolarizations (s- and mAHP) and caused a consequent increase in cell excitability as well as a depolarization of the membrane and an increase in input resistance. Interestingly, with the exception of the suppression of the mAHP, these effects were persistent, and in the case of the sAHP lasting for more than 1 h of drug washout. Preincubation with the specific mGluR5 antagonist, 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP), reduced but did not completely prevent the effects of DHPG. However, preincubation with both MPEP and the mGluR1 antagonist LY367385 completely prevented the DHPG-induced changes. These results demonstrate that the DHPG-induced changes are mediated partly by mGluR5 and partly by mGluR1. Because Group I mGluRs are linked to PLC via G-protein activation, we also investigated pathways downstream of PLC activation, using chelerythrine and cyclopiazonic acid to block protein kinase C (PKC) and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-(IP(3))-activated Ca(2+) stores, respectively. Neither inhibitor affected the DHPG-induced suppression of the sAHP or the increase in excitability nor did an inhibitor of PLC itself, U-73122. Taken together, these results argue that in CA1 pyramidal cells in the adult rat, DHPG activates mGluRs of both the mGluR5 and mGluR1 subtypes, causing a long-lasting suppression of the sAHP and a consequent persistent increase in excitability via a PLC-, PKC-, and IP(3)-independent transduction pathway.