Vascular smooth muscle cells respond with an increase in intracellular Ca2+ within seconds after exposure to oxidized low density lipoprotein (oxLDL). This has been suggested to represent a signaling response that may have implications for gene expression. If so, oxLDL may induce increases in nuclear Ca2+ in smooth muscle cells in response to oxLDL. Aortic smooth muscle cells were exposed to 100 microg/ml oxLDL. Large, rapid increases in [Ca2+]i were observed using fluo-3 as an indicator dye to detect intracellular Ca2+ on the stage of a confocal microscope. This was also confirmed using ratiometric imaging of indo signals. These elevations appeared to be localized to the nuclear region of the cell. DNA staining of the cells confirmed its localization to the nuclear/perinuclear region of the cell. Our data demonstrate that oxLDL induces a nuclear localized elevation in Ca2+i that may have important implications for nuclear function.