The mechanism of the abnormal increase in extracellular glutamate concentration in the hippocampus induced with 100 mM KCl in zinc deficiency is unknown. In the present study, the changes in glutamate release (exocytosis) and GLT-1, a glial glutamate transporter, expression were studied in young rats fed a zinc-deficient diet for 4 weeks. Exocytosis at mossy fiber boutons was enhanced as reported previously and GLT-1 protein was increased in the hippocampus. The enhanced exocytosis is thought to increase extracellular glutamate concentration. However, the basal concentration of extracellular glutamate in the hippocampus was not increased by zinc deficiency, suggesting that GLT-1 protein increased serves to maintain the basal concentration of extracellular glutamate. The enhanced exocytosis was attenuated in the presence of 100 μM ZnCl2, which attenuated the abnormal increase in extracellular glutamate induced with high K+ in zinc deficiency. The present study indicates that zinc attenuates abnormal glutamate release in zinc deficiency. The enhanced exocytosis was also attenuated in slices from zinc-deficient rats administered Yokukansan, a herbal medicine, in which the abnormal increase in extracellular glutamate induced with high K+ was attenuated. It is likely that Yokukansan is useful for prevention or cure of abnormal glutamate release. The enhanced exocytosis in zinc deficiency is a possible mechanism on abnormal increase in extracellular glutamate in the hippocampus induced with high K+.