Following postsynaptic activation of a pyramidal cell, the degree of GABAergic synaptic inhibition that the cell receives is reduced dramatically for many seconds. Previously, we found that induction of depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) required post-synaptic increases in intracellular [Ca2+], but absence of a decrease in responsiveness to iontophoretically applied GABA left the mechanism of DSI expression uncertain. We investigated DSI with whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings in rat hippocampal slices. Bath-applied carbachol was ordinarily used to increase the spontaneous action potential-induced IPSCs (sIPSCs) and enhance detectability of DSI; synaptically released ACh has the same effects. TTX-sensitive sIPSCs are markedly reduced by DSI, whereas TTX-insensitive miniature IPSC amplitudes do not change, suggesting that DSI represents a retrograde influence on presynaptic GABA release. A lag (approximately 1 s) prior to maximal DSI and prevention of DSI by pertussis toxin pointed to a G protein-linked second messenger that may be presynaptic, since perturbation of postsynaptic G protein function did not alter DSI.