Apical low-conductance SK and high-conductance Ca(2+)-activated BK channels are present in distal nephron, including the cortical collecting duct (CCD). Flow-stimulated net K secretion (J(K)) in the CCD is 1) blocked by iberiotoxin, an inhibitor of BK but not SK channels, and 2) associated with an increase in [Ca(2+)](i), leading us to conclude that BK channels mediate flow-stimulated J(K). To examine the Ca(2+) dependence and sources of Ca(2+) contributing to flow-stimulated J(K), J(K) and net Na absorption (J(Na)) were measured at slow (approximately 1) and fast (approximately 5 nl.min(-1).mm(-1)) flow rates in rabbit CCDs microperfused in the absence of luminal Ca(2+) or after pretreatment with BAPTA-AM to chelate intracellular Ca(2+), 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2-APB), to inhibit the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3)) receptor or thapsigargin to deplete internal stores. These treatments, which do not affect flow-stimulated J(Na) (Morimoto et al. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 291: F663-F669, 2006), inhibited flow-stimulated J(K). Increases in [Ca(2+)](i) stimulate exocytosis. To test whether flow induces exocytic insertion of preformed BK channels into the apical membrane, CCDs were pretreated with 10 microM colchicine (COL) to disrupt microtubule function or 5 microg/ml brefeldin-A (BFA) to inhibit delivery of channels from the intracellular pool to the plasma membrane. Both agents inhibited flow-stimulated J(K) but not J(Na) (Morimoto et al. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 291: F663-F669, 2006), although COL but not BFA also blocked the flow-induced [Ca(2+)](i) transient. We thus speculate that BK channel-mediated, flow-stimulated J(K) requires an increase in [Ca(2+)](i) due, in part, to luminal Ca(2+) entry and ER Ca(2+) release, microtubule integrity, and exocytic insertion of preformed channels into the apical membrane.