Schaffer collateral synapses in hippocampus show target-cell specific short-term plasticity. Using GFP-expressing Inhibitory Neuron (GIN) transgenic mice that express enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in a subset of somatostatin-containing interneurons (SOM interneurons), we previously showed that Schaffer collateral synapses onto SOM interneurons in stratum (S.) radiatum have unusually large (up to 6-fold) paired-pulse facilitation. This results from a low initial release probability and the enhancement of facilitation by synaptic activation of presynaptic kainate receptors. Here we further investigate the properties of these kainate receptors and examine their effects on short-term facilitation during physiologically derived stimulation patterns, using excitatory postsynaptic currents recorded in S. radiatum interneurons during Schaffer collateral stimulation in acute slices from juvenile GIN mice. We find that GluR5 and GluR6 antagonists decrease short-term facilitation at Schaffer collateral synapses onto SOM interneurons with no additive effects, suggesting that the presynaptic kainate receptors are heteromers containing both GluR5 and GluR6 subunits. The calcium-permeable receptor antagonist 1-napthyl acetyl spermine (NASPM) both mimics and occludes the effect of the kainate receptor antagonists, indicating that the presynaptic kainate receptors are calcium permeable. Furthermore, Schaffer collateral synapses onto SOM interneurons show up to 11-fold short-term facilitation during physiologically derived stimulus patterns, in contrast to other interneurons that have less than 1.5-fold facilitation. Blocking the kainate receptors reduces facilitation in SOM interneurons by ∼50% during the physiologically derived patterns and reduces the dynamic range. Activation of calcium-permeable kainate receptors containing GluR5/GluR6 causes a dramatic increase in short-term facilitation during physiologically derived stimulus patterns, a mechanism likely to be important in regulating the strength of Schaffer collateral synapses onto SOM interneurons in vivo. Copyright © 2009 The American Physiological Society.