Interneurons are critical in regulating the excitability of principal cells in neuronal circuits, thereby modulating the output of neuronal networks. We investigated synaptically evoked inhibitory responses in CA3 pyramidal cells mediated by metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) expressed somatodendritically by interneurons. Although pharmacological activation of mGluRs in interneurons has been shown to enhance their excitability, the inability to record mGluR-mediated synaptic responses has precluded detailed characterization of mGluR function in hippocampal interneurons. We found that a single extracellular pulse in CA3 stratum pyramidale was sufficient to induce disynaptic inhibitory responses mediated by postsynaptic mGluRs of the interneurons in CA3 pyramidal cells of hippocampal slice cultures. The disynaptic inhibitory response followed a short-latency monosynaptic inhibitory response, and was observed at stimulus intensities evoking half-maximal monosynaptic IPSCs. Synergistic activation of mGluR1 and mGluR5 was required to induce the full inhibitory response. When recordings were obtained from interneurons in CA3 stratum radiatum or stratum oriens, a single extracellular stimulus induced a slow inward cationic current with a time course corresponding to the slow inhibitory response measured in pyramidal cells. DCG IV, a group II mGluR agonist, which specifically blocks synaptic transmission through mossy fibres, had no effect on mGluR-mediated synaptic responses in interneurons, suggesting that feed-forward inhibition via mossy fibres is not involved. Thus, postsynaptic mGluR1 and mGluR5 in hippocampal interneurons cooperatively mediate slow feedback inhibition of CA3 pyramidal cells. This mechanism may allow interneurons to monitor activity levels from populations of neighbouring principal cells to adapt inhibitory tone to the state of the network.