Metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) may play a role in modulating microglial activation, but group I mGluRs have received little attention. This study aimed to investigate the effects of group I mGluR selective ligands, (S)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine ((S)-3,5-DHPG) and (RS)-1-aminoindan-1,5-dicarboxylic acid (AIDA), in lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 50 ng/ml)-activated rat microglial cultures. (S)-3,5-DHPG (150 microM) significantly reduced (approximately 20-60%) the LPS-mediated production of nitrite (NO2(-)), tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and L-glutamate (Glu) at 24 and 72 h. Image analysis revealed increases in both cell area and number, with larger amoeboid microglia (with retracted processes) formed following 2 h LPS exposure. This cellular population was absent after addition of (S)-3,5-DHPG, an effect antagonised by AIDA, and a concomitant reduction in cell area was also found. Taken together, these biochemical and morphological observations suggest that (S)-3,5-DHPG reduces microglial activation, indicating a role for group I mGluRs in modulating microglial function.