The aims of this paper are to provide a comprehensive and up to date review of the mechanisms of induction and expression of long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmission. The review will focus largely on homosynaptic LTD and other forms of LTD will be considered only where appropriate for a fuller understanding of LTD mechanisms. We shall concentrate on what are felt to be some of the most interesting recent findings concerning LTD in the central nervous system. Wherever possible we shall try to consider some of the disparities in results and possible reasons for these. Finally, we shall briefly consider some of the possible functional consequences of LTD for normal physiological function.