Nociceptive primary afferents release glutamate, activating postsynaptic glutamate receptors on spinal cord dorsal horn neurons. Glutamate receptors, both ionotropic and metabotropic, are also expressed on presynaptic terminals, where they regulate neurotransmitter release. During the last two decades, a wide number of studies have characterized the properties of presynaptic glutamatergic receptors, particularly those expressed on primary afferent fibers. This review describes the subunit composition, distribution and function of presynaptic glutamate ionotropic (AMPA, NMDA, kainate) and metabotropic receptors expressed in rodent spinal cord dorsal horn. The role of presynaptic receptors in modulating nociceptive information in experimental models of acute and chronic pain will be also discussed.