Data suggest both presynaptic and postsynaptic changes contribute to activity-dependent long-term synaptic plasticity. We have shown that pairing elevation of intracellular [cyclic GMP], using the type V phosphodiesterase inhibitor zaprinast, with inhibition of cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), is sufficient to elicit chemical long-term depression (CLTD) of synaptic transmission at Schaffer collateral-CA1 and mossy fibre-CA3 synapses in rat hippocampus. CLTD does not require synaptic activity, and selective postsynaptic drug injections do not affect it, suggesting it is presynaptically induced and expressed. To directly evaluate this hypothesis, we tested whether CLTD of transmitter release can be expressed in isolated presynaptic nerve terminals. Presynaptic nerve terminals (synaptosomes) were isolated from rat hippocampi by Percoll density gradient centrifugation. Synaptosomes were loaded with [3H]glutamate, and basal and depolarisation-induced release of [3H]glutamate measured in control medium versus medium containing zaprinast (20 µm) plus or minus the PKA inhibitor H-89 (10 µm). Zaprinast produced a significant decrease in basal [3H]glutamate release. However, only combining zaprinast with H-89 significantly depressed K+-evoked [3H]glutamate release. After a 20-min drug washout, basal release returned to normal in all conditions, but K+-evoked [3H]glutamate release was persistently reduced only by the combination of zaprinast plus H-89. Long-term reduction of [3H]glutamate release from synaptosomes was completely prevented by the PKG inhibitor KT5823 (5 µm). These data demonstrate the existence of a presynaptic, cyclic GMP-PKG dependent cascade capable of expressing LTD of glutamate release from isolated hippocampal nerve terminals.