The effects of the chaotrophic anion perchlorate (ClO4-) on glucose-induced electrical activity, exocytosis and ion channel activity in mouse pancreatic B-cells were investigated by patch-clamp recordings and capacitance measurements. ClO4- stimulated glucose-induced electrical activity and increased the action potential frequency by 70% whilst not affecting the membrane potential when applied in the presence of a subthreshold concentration of the sugar. ClO4- did not influence ATP-dependent K (KATP) channel activity and voltage-gated delayed K+ current. Similarly, ClO4- had no effect on Ca2+-dependent exocytosis. The stimulation of electrical activity and insulin secretion was instead attributable to an enhancement of the whole-cell Ca2+ current. This effect was particularly pronounced at voltages around the threshold for action potential initiation and a doubling of the current amplitude was observed at -30 mV. This was due to a 7-mV shift in the gating of the Ca2+ current towards negative voltages. The action of ClO4- was more pronounced when added in the presence of 0.1 mM BAY K8644, whereas no stimulation was observed when applied at a maximal concentration of the agonist (1 mM). Single-channel recordings revealed that the effect of ClO4- on whole-cell currents was principally due to a 60% increase in the mean duration of the long openings and the number of active channels. We propose that ClO4- stimulates insulin secretion and electrical activity by exerting a BAY K8644-like action on Ca2+ channel gating.