Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (group I mGluRs; mGluR1 and mGluR5) exert diverse effects on neuronal and synaptic functions, many of which are regulated by intracellular Ca2+. In this study, we characterized the cellular mechanisms underlying Ca2+ mobilization induced by (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG; a specific group I mGluR agonist) in the somata of acutely dissociated rat hippocampal neurons using microfluorometry. We found that DHPG activates mGluR5 to mobilize intracellular Ca2+ from ryanodine-sensitive stores via cyclic adenosine diphosphate ribose (cADPR), while the PLC/IP3 signaling pathway was not involved in Ca2+ mobilization. The application of glutamate, which depolarized the membrane potential by 28.5 +/- 4.9 mV (n = 4), led to transient Ca2+ mobilization by mGluR5 and Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels. We found no evidence that mGluR5-mediated Ca2+ release and Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels interact to generate supralinear Ca2+ transients. Our study provides novel insights into the mechanisms of intracellular Ca2+ mobilization by mGluR5 in the somata of hippocampal neurons.