The melastatin-related transient receptor potential channel TRPM2 is a Ca(2+)-permeable channel that is activated by H(2)O(2), and the Ca(2+) influx through TRPM2 mediates cell death. However, the responsible oxidants for TRPM2 activation remain to be identified. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of hydroxyl radical on TRPM2 activation in TRPM2-expressing HEK293 cells and the rat beta-cell line RIN-5F. In both cell types, H(2)O(2) induced Ca(2+) influx in a concentration-dependent manner. However, the addition of hydroxyl radical, which was produced by mixing FeSO(4) and H(2)O(2), to the cells, did not increase intracellular Ca(2+) concentration. Interestingly, when H(2)O(2) was added to the cells under intracellular Fe(2+)-accumulated conditions, Ca(2+) influx was markedly enhanced compared to H(2)O(2) alone. In addition, the H(2)O(2)-induced Ca(2+) influx was reduced by hydroxyl radical scavengers and an iron chelator. Under intracellular Fe(2+)-accumulated conditions, H(2)O(2)-induced RIN-5F cell death through TRPM2 activation was also markedly enhanced. Hydroxyl radical scavengers and an iron chelator suppressed the RIN-5F cell death by H(2)O(2). These results strongly suggest that the intracellular hydroxyl radical plays a key role in the activation of TRPM2 during H(2)O(2) treatment, and TRPM2 activation mediated by hydroxyl radical is implicated in H(2)O(2)-induced cell death in the beta-cell line RIN-5F.