Stimulus-secretion coupling in pancreatic beta-cells involves membrane depolarization and Ca(2+) entry through voltage-gated L-type Ca(2+) channels, which is one determinant of increases in the cytoplasmic free Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)). We investigated how the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated Ca(2+) apparatus further modifies this Ca(2+) signal. When fura-2-loaded mouse beta-cells were depolarized by KCl in the presence of 3 mm glucose, [Ca(2+)](i) increased to a peak in two phases. The second phase of the [Ca(2+)](i) increase was abolished when ER Ca(2+) stores were depleted by thapsigargin. The steady-state [Ca(2+)](i) measured at 300 s of depolarization was higher in control cells compared with cells in which the ER Ca(2+) pools were depleted. The amount of Ca(2+) presented to the cytoplasm during depolarization as estimated from the integral of the increment in [Ca(2+)](i) over time (integralDelta[Ca(2+)](i).dt) was approximately 30% higher compared with that in the Ca(2+) pool-depleted cells. neo-thapsigargin, an inactive analog, did not affect [Ca(2+)](i) response. Using Sr(2+) in the extracellular medium and exploiting the differences in the fluorescence properties of Ca(2+)- and Sr(2+)-bound fluo-3, we found that the incoming Sr(2+) triggered Ca(2+) release from the ER. Depolarization-induced [Ca(2+)](i) response was not altered by, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C, suggesting that stimulation of the enzyme by Ca(2+) is not essential for amplification of Ca(2+) signaling. [Ca(2+)](i) response was enhanced when cells were depolarized in the presence of 3 mm glucose, forskolin, and caffeine, suggesting involvement of ryanodine receptors in the amplification process. Pretreatment with ryanodine (100 microm) diminished the second phase of the depolarization-induced increase in [Ca(2+)](i). We conclude that Ca(2+) entry through L-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels triggers Ca(2+) release from the ER and that such a process amplifies depolarization-induced Ca(2+) signaling in beta-cells.