1. We have reported previously that in mouse pancreatic beta-cells H2O2 hyperpolarizes the membrane and increases the ATP-sensitive K+ current recorded in the perforated patch configuration of the patch-clamp technique. The present study was undertaken to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. 2. The intracellular ATP concentration measured by chemoluminescence was reduced by H2O2. The ADP concentration increased in parallel during the first 10 min, resulting in a pronounced decrease in the ATP/ADP ratio. 3. Consistent with these results, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from isolated islets was inhibited by H2O2. 4. Membrane hyperpolarization measured with intracellular microelectrodes in intact islets and inhibition of insulin secretion were counteracted by tolbutamide, indicating that the channels are still responsive to inhibitors and that the ATP concentration is not too low to trigger exocytosis. However, the sensitivity of the beta-cells to tolbutamide was reduced after treatment with H2O2. 5. H2O2 increased the intracellular Ca2+ activity ([Ca2+]i) in a biphasic manner. A first transient rise in [Ca2+]i due to mobilization of Ca2+ from intracellular stores was followed by a sustained increase, which was at least partly dependent on Ca2+ influx. The first phase seems to reflect Ca2+ mobilization from mitochondria. 6. Our results demonstrate that H2O2 interferes with glucose metabolism, which influences the membrane potential and ATP-sensitive K+ current via the intracellular concentration of ATP. These events finally lead to an inhibition of insulin secretion despite an increase in [Ca2+]i.