Transcranical direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a treatment known to ameliorate various neurological conditions and enhance memory and cognition in humans. tDCS has gained traction for its potential therapeutic value; however, little is known about its mechanism of action. Using a transgenic mouse expressing G-CaMP7 in astrocytes and a subpopulation of excitatory neurons, we find that tDCS induces large-amplitude astrocytic Ca(2+) surges across the entire cortex with no obvious changes in the local field potential. Moreover, sensory evoked cortical responses are enhanced after tDCS. These enhancements are dependent on the alpha-1 adrenergic receptor and are not observed in IP3R2 (inositol trisphosphate receptor type 2) knockout mice, in which astrocytic Ca(2+) surges are absent. Together, we propose that tDCS changes the metaplasticity of the cortex through astrocytic Ca(2+)/IP3 signalling.