Long-term depression (LTD) is a lasting decrease in synaptic effectiveness that follows some types of electrical stimulation in the hippocampus. Two broad types of LTD may be distinguished. Heterosynaptic LTD can occur at synapses that are inactive, normally during high-frequency stimulation of a converging synaptic input. Homosynaptic LTD can occur at synapses that are activated, normally at low frequencies. Here we discuss the mechanisms of LTD and their possible relevance to hippocampal function.