Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is characterized by the selective destruction of pancreatic beta-cells. Chronic treatment with cytokines induced a low voltage-activated (LVA) Ca2+ current in mouse beta-cells. The concomitant increase in the basal cytoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) was associated with DNA fragmentation and cell death. Antagonists of LVA Ca2+ channels prevented this elevation of basal [Ca2+]i and DNA fragmentation and reduced the percentage of cell death. Exposure to cytokines did not affect the profile of Ca2+ currents or basal [Ca2+]i in glucagon-secreting alpha-cells. An increased Ca2+ signal through LVA Ca2+ channels may thus be a key feature in cytokine-induced beta-cell destruction.