Heart mitochondria respiring in a sucrose medium containing P(i) show a permeability transition when challenged with Ca2+ and an oxidant such as cumene hydroperoxide. The transition results from the opening of a Ca(2+)-dependent pore and is evidenced by loss of membrane potential (delta psi) and osmotic swelling due to uptake of sucrose and other solutes. In the absence of oxidant, high concentrations of Ca2+ (100-150 microM) are necessary to induce loss of delta psi and initiate swelling. Cyclosporin A delays the loss of delta psi but enhances swelling under these conditions, apparently by promoting better retention of accumulated Ca2+. Cyclosporin A and ADP together restore delta psi in respiring mitochondria that have undergone the permeability transition at levels that are not effective when either is added alone. When the state of the Ca(2+)-dependent pore is assessed using passive osmotic contraction in response to polyethylene glycol (Haworth, R. A., and Hunter, D. R. (1979) Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 195, 460-467), cyclosporin A is found to be a partial inhibitor of solute flow through the open pore. Cyclosporin A decreases the Vmax of passive contraction and increases the Km for Ca2+ without affecting the Hill slope. ADP in the presence of carboxyatractyloside closes the pore almost completely even in the presence of 40 microM Ca2+. ADP shows mixed type inhibition of the Ca(2+)-dependent pore, and cyclosporin A increases the affinity of the pore for ADP. It is concluded that cyclosporin A and ADP act synergistically to close the Ca(2+)-dependent pore of the mitochondrion and that the pore is probably not formed directly from the adenine nucleotide transporter.