Schizophrenia is considered to be associated with a hyperfunction of the dopaminergic system and with abnormalities in hippocampal information processing. To clarify whether an enhanced dopaminergic activity alters the hippocampal output, the effect of dopamine (DA) on inhibitory postsynaptic responses (IPSPs) in subicular neurons was examined. DA (200 microM) induced a small and inconsistent hyperpolarization that was accompanied by a reduction of membrane resistance. DA decreased polysynaptic IPSPs which was paralleled by a depression of isolated AMPA/kainate and NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic responses (EPSPs). In contrast, DA had no effect on isolated monosynaptic GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptor-mediated IPSP/Cs. We conclude that in addition to membrane effects, DA decreases polysynaptic IPSPs by attenuating the glutamatergic drive onto subicular interneurons.