We have previously shown that spontaneous release of glutamate in the entorhinal cortex (EC) is tonically facilitated via activation of presynaptic NMDA receptors (NMDAr) containing the NR2B subunit. Here we show that the same receptors mediate short-term plasticity manifested by frequency-dependent facilitation of evoked glutamate release at these synapses. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made from layer V pyramidal neurones in rat EC slices. Evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents showed strong facilitation at relatively low frequencies (3 Hz) of activation. Facilitation was abolished by an NR2B-selective blocker (Ro 25-6981), but unaffected by NR2A-selective antagonists (Zn(2+), NVP-AAM077). In contrast, postsynaptic NMDAr-mediated responses could be reduced by subunit-selective concentrations of all three antagonists. The data suggest that NMDAr involved in presynaptic plasticity in layer V are exclusively NR1/NR2B diheteromers, whilst postsynaptically they are probably a mixture of NR1/NR2A, NR1/NR2B diheteromers and NR1/NR2A/NR2B triheteromeric receptors.