The repetitive spiking of free cytosolic [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]i) during hormonal activation of hepatocytes depends on the activation and subsequent inactivation of InsP3-evoked Ca2+ release. The kinetics of both processes were studied with flash photolytic release of InsP3 and time resolved measurements of [Ca2+]i in single cells. InsP3 evoked Ca2+ flux into the cytosol was measured as d[Ca2+]i/dt, and the kinetics of Ca2+ release compared between hepatocytes and cerebellar Purkinje neurons. In hepatocytes release occurs at InsP3 concentrations greater than 0.1–0.2 μM. A comparison with photolytic release of metabolically stable 5-thio-InsP3 suggests that metabolism of InsP3 is important in determining the minimal concentration needed to produce Ca2+ release. A distinct latency or delay of several hundred milliseconds after release of low InsP3 concentrations decreased to a minimum of 20–30 ms at high concentrations and is reduced to zero by prior increase of [Ca2+]i, suggesting a cooperative action of Ca2+ in InsP3 receptor activation. InsP3-evoked flux and peak [Ca2+]i increased with InsP3 concentration up to 5–10 μM, with large variation from cell to cell at each InsP3 concentration. The duration of InsP3-evoked flux, measured as 10–90% risetime, showed a good reciprocal correlation with d[Ca2+]i/dt and much less cell to cell variation than the dependence of flux on InsP3 concentration, suggesting that the rate of termination of the Ca2+ flux depends on the free Ca2+ flux itself. Comparing this data between hepatocytes and Purkinje neurons shows a similar reciprocal correlation for both, in hepatocytes in the range of low Ca2+ flux, up to 50 μM · s−1 and in Purkinje neurons at high flux up to 1,400 μM · s−1. Experiments in which [Ca2+]i was controlled at resting or elevated levels support a mechanism in which InsP3-evoked Ca2+ flux is inhibited by Ca2+ inactivation of closed receptor/channels due to Ca2+ accumulation local to the release sites. Hepatocytes have a much smaller, more prolonged InsP3-evoked Ca2+ flux than Purkinje neurons. Evidence suggests that these differences in kinetics can be explained by the much lower InsP3 receptor density in hepatocytes than Purkinje neurons, rather than differences in receptor isoform, and, more generally, that high InsP3 receptor density promotes fast rising, rapidly inactivating InsP3-evoked [Ca2+]i transients.