Divalent cations had two effects on concentration-response relations of glutamate induced membrane currents recorded from retinal horizontal cells. The first effect was a reduction of maximum currents. Barium, magnesium, cobalt, nickel and an increased calcium concentration caused reductions of maximum currents between 14% and 70%. The second effect of divalent cations was related to the dopamine dependent modulation of glutamate receptors in horizontal cells. The dopamine dependent enhancement of glutamate gated currents requires the presence of divalent cations besides calcium in the extracellular solution. Without such divalent cations application of dopamine caused no increase of the maximum currents induced by glutamate, and only a slight shift of the half maximal saturation concentration was observed. Addition of magnesium or barium cations in millimolar concentration was sufficient to completely restore the dopamine dependent modulation.