The role of Mg2+ during the final steps of exocytosis was investigated using rat pheochromocytoma cells (PC12) permeabilized with bacterial pore forming toxins. Concentrations of free Mg2+ between 0.2 and 2 mM slightly lowered the basal but greatly enhanced the [3H]dopamine release elicited by 8 μM free Ca2+. Maximal effects were obtained at approximately 1 mM free Mg2+. At higher concentrations Mg2+ was less potent. Similar effects of Mg2+ were obtained in cells permeabilized either for small molecules (by α-toxin) or for large ones (by streptolysin O). It is concluded that millimolar concentrations of cytoplasmic Mg2+ play an important role in Ca2+ triggered exocytosis.