Intercellular Ca2+ waves initiated by mechanical or chemical stimuli propagate between cells via gap junctions. The ability of a wide diversity of cells to display intercellular Ca2+ waves suggests that these Ca2+ waves may represent a general mechanism by which cells communicate. Although Ca2+ may permeate gap junctions, the intercellular movement of Ca2+ is not essential for the propagation of Ca2+ waves. The messenger that moves from one cell to the next through gap junctions appears to be IP3 and a regenerative mechanism for IP3 may be required to effect multicellular communication. Extracellularly mediated Ca2+ signaling also exists and this could be employed to supplement or replace gap junctional communication. The function of intercellular Ca2+ waves may be the coordination of cooperative cellular responses to local stimuli.