Membrane voltage and voltage-clamped membrane currents have been investigated with the whole-cell patch clamp method in the insulin-secreting cell line RINm5F. The mean resting membrane potential of RINm5F cells was found to be -52 mV. Overshooting spike potentials could be evoked by depolarising voltage steps in the absence of a secretagogue. Inward membrane currents evoked by depolarising voltage steps were dependent upon extracellular Ca2+ and blocked by Co2+, nifedipine and verapamil. Outward membrane currents which were evoked by depolarising voltage steps to positive membrane potentials were reduced when Ca2+ entry was prevented. It is concluded that the voltage-activated Ca2+ currents underlie the voltage-activated spike potentials recorded from insulin-secreting cells.