1. Mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) result in the primary defect observed in patients with cystic fibrosis. 2. The CFTR is a member of the ATPase-binding cassette (ABC) transporter family but, unlike other members of this group, CFTR conducts a chloride current that is activated by cAMP. 3. In epithelial cells, the cAMP-stimulated chloride current is conducted by both CFTR and the outwardly rectifying chloride channel (ORCC). 4. The present review summarizes the current knowledge of the properties of the two channels, as well as their relationship. Because the gene encoding the ORCC has not been identified, a discussion as to possible candidates for this chloride channel is included.