Although reductions in neurotransmission have been reported in response to agonist-mediated adenosine A1 receptor activation, the implications of A2 receptor activation on synaptic transmission have not been well explored. We examined the role adenosine A2 receptors play in the efficacy of neurotransmission between the Schaffer collateral-CA1 pathway in the rat transverse hippocampal slice. A2 receptor blockade in the presence of complete A1 receptor inhibition led to a reversible reduction of the field excitatory post-synaptic potential (EPSP) slope in response to low-frequency test pulses (0.033 Hz) indicating that A2 receptors can enhance synaptic transmission. A2 receptor blockade by the A2 antagonist, DMPX (3,7- dimethyl-1-propargylxanthine) prevented the induction of tetanus-induced long-term potentiation (LTP) of the EPSP. In contrast, no such effect on LTP induction was observed during A 2 receptor blockade. We also examined the effects of DMPX on the induction of LTP during continued A1 receptor blockade with CPT. Under this condition, LTP was significantly reduced when compared to LTP induced in the presence of CPT alone. A similar result was found using the highly polar A2 antagonist 8-SPT (8-(p- sulfophenyl)theophylline) suggesting that the effects of DMPX on LTP were not due to a direct action on an intracellular intermediate. DMPX had no effect on LTP expression if applied 45 min following the tetanus indicating that A2 receptors play no significant role in the maintenance phase of LTP. Selective A(2a) receptor activation did not alter the field EPSP. Similarly, selective blockade of the A(2a) receptor did not interfere with tetanus-induced LTP. Increases in neuronal firing rates can result in elevations in the concentration of extracellular adenosine. Together, these results suggest that the A2 receptors may play an important role in the induction although not the maintenance of hippocampal LTP and that the effect is likely to be mediated by the A(2b) receptor.