Stratum lacunosum-moleculare interneurons (L-Mi) in hippocampal area CA3 target the apical dendrite of pyramidal cells providing feedforward inhibition. Here we report that selective activation of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) 4/8 with L(+)-2-amino-4-phosphnobytyric acid (L-AP4; 10 μM) decreased the probability of glutamate release from the mossy fiber (MF) terminals synapsing onto L-Mi. Consistent with this interpretation, application of L-AP4 in the presence of 3 mM strontium decreased the frequency of asynchronous MF EPSCs in L-Mi. Furthermore, the dose response curve showed that L-AP4 at 400 μM produced no further decrease in MF EPSC amplitude compared with 20 μM L-AP4, indicating the lack of mGluRs 7 at these MF terminals. We also found that one mechanism of mGluRs 4/8-mediated inhibition of release is linked to N-type voltage gated calcium channels at MF terminals. Application of the group III mGluR antagonist MSOP (100 μM) demonstrated that mGluRs 4/8 are neither tonically active nor activated by low and moderate frequencies of activity. However, trains of stimuli to the MF at 20 and 40 Hz delivered during the application of MSOP revealed a relief of inhibition of transmitter release and an increase in the overall probability of action potential firing in the postsynaptic L-Mi. Interestingly, the time to first action potential was significantly shorter in the presence of MSOP, indicating that mGluR 4/8 activation delays L-Mi firing in response to MF activity. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the timing and probability of action potentials in L-Mi evoked by MF synaptic input is regulated by the activation of presynaptic high affinity group III mGluRs. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.