A rise in cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](cyt)) due to Ca(2+) release from intracellular Ca(2+) stores and Ca(2+) influx through plasmalemmal Ca(2+) channels plays a critical role in mitogen-mediated cell growth. Depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores triggers capacitative Ca(2+) entry (CCE), a mechanism involved in maintaining Ca(2+) influx and refilling intracellular Ca(2+) stores. Transient receptor potential (TRP) genes have been demonstrated to encode the store-operated Ca(2+) channels that are activated by Ca(2+) store depletion. In this study, we examined whether CCE, activity of store-operated Ca(2+) channels, and human TRP1 (hTRP1) expression are essential in human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell (PASMC) proliferation. Chelation of extracellular Ca(2+) and depletion of intracellularly stored Ca(2+) inhibited PASMC growth in media containing serum and growth factors. Resting [Ca(2+)](cyt) as well as the increases in [Ca(2+)](cyt) due to Ca(2+) release and CCE were all significantly greater in proliferating PASMC than in growth-arrested cells. Consistently, whole cell inward currents activated by depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores and the mRNA level of hTRP1 were much greater in proliferating PASMC than in growth-arrested cells. These results suggest that elevated [Ca(2+)](cyt) and intracellularly stored [Ca(2+)] play an important role in pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cell growth. CCE, potentially via hTRP1-encoded Ca(2+)-permeable channels, may be an important mechanism required to maintain the elevated [Ca(2+)](cyt) and stored [Ca(2+)] in human PASMC during proliferation.