Glia contain, synthesize, or release more than 20 neuroactive compounds including neuropeptides, amino acid transmitters, eicosanoids, steroids, and growth factors. The stimuli that elicit release differ among compounds but include neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, receptor agonists, and elevated external [K+]. The mechanisms of release are poorly understood in most cases. Many of the neuroactive compounds are localized in discrete subpopulations of glia. Thus, glia are equipped to send as well as receive chemical messages and appear to be present as classes of cells with differing abilities to communicate chemically. It is possible that glia are as diverse as neurons in their functional characteristics.