Memory consolidation in a discriminative bead pecking task is modulated by endogenous adenosine triphosphate (ATP) acting at purinergic receptors in the hippocampus. Consolidation, from short- to intermediate- to long-term memory during two distinct periods following training, was blocked by the non-selective P2 purinergic receptor antagonist PPADS (pyridoxal phosphate-6-azo(benzene-2,4-disulphonic acid) tetrasodium salt hydrate and the specific P2Y1 receptor antagonist MRS2179. Direct injections of the ATP agonists (ATPgammaS and ADPbetaS) potentiated memory consolidation and the effect of ADPbetaS was blocked by MRS2179, suggesting an important role of ATP on memory consolidation via the P2Y1 receptor in the chick hippocampus. Incubation of astrocytes with ATPgammaS and ADPbetaS resulted in the increase of intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i), the latter being blocked by MRS2179 suggesting a specific role for P2Y1 receptors in the calcium response. This response was prevented by blocking astrocytic oxidative metabolism with fluoroacetate. We argue that the source of the ATP acting on neuronal P2Y1 receptors is most likely to be astrocytes. Thrombin selectively increases [Ca2+]i in astrocytes but not in neurones. The main findings of the present study are: (a) astrocytic [Ca2+]i plays an important role in the consolidation of short-term to long-term memory; and (b) ATP released from chick astrocytes during learning modulates neuronal activity through astrocytic P2Y1 receptors.