Age-associated deficits in learning and memory are closely correlated with impairments of synaptic plasticity. Analysis of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAr)-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) in CA1 hippocampal slices indicates that the glial-derived neuromodulator D-serine is required for the induction of synaptic plasticity. During aging, the content of D-serine and the expression of its synthesizing enzyme serine racemase are significantly decreased in the hippocampus. Impaired LTP and NMDAr-mediated synaptic potentials in old rats are rescued by exogenous D-serine. These results highlight the critical role of glial cells and presumably astrocytes, through the availability of D-serine, in the deficits of synaptic mechanisms of learning and memory that occur in the course of aging.