We examined whether enhanced glutamate release contributes to the expression of persistent spontaneous nociceptive behaviours (SNBs) in rats induced by intrathecal (i.t.) administration of the selective group I mGluR agonist, (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine ((RS)-DHPG). Pretreatment with drugs that have been shown to inhibit glutamate release, including a group II metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) agonist (2R,4R)-4-aminopyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylate ((2R,4R)-APDC), a group III mGluR agonist L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (L-AP4), or the use-dependent sodium channel blockers 3,5-diamino-6-(2,3-diclorophenyl)-1,2,4-triazine (lamotrigine) and 2-amino-6-trifluoromethoxybenzothiazole (riluzole), produced dose-dependent reductions in (RS)-DHPG-induced SNBs. We have also shown that incubation of rat lumbar spinal cord slices with (RS)-DHPG potentiates 4-aminopyridine-evoked (4-AP) release of glutamate. Furthermore, we found that destruction of unmyelinated primary afferent C-fibres by neonatal capsaicin treatment significantly reduced (RS)-DHPG-induced SNBs in adult rats. Together, these results suggest that (RS)-DHPG-induced nociception is dependent on spinal glutamate release, probably from primary afferent C-fibres.