Cytoplasmic Ca2+ (Ca2+i) was monitored in single guinea-pig pancreatic alpha 2-cells exposed to modulators of glucagon release. The stimulatory amino acid arginine raised Ca2+i from 62 to 160 nM, whereas the inhibitor glucose reduced both the latter concentration and basal Ca2+i by 30%. Epinephrine which potentiates arginine-stimulated secretion by increasing cAMP, does so without affecting Ca2+i. The results indicate that glucagon secretion is positively modulated by Ca2+i. It is suggested that glucose-induced lowering of Ca2+i is a fundamental effect in cells where the sugar is readily metabolized.