The ionic mechanism of inositol trisphosphate (InsP3)-induced Ca2+ release was investigated in microsomes (microsomal fractions) isolated from rat brain. InsP3 stimulated Ca2+ release from microsomes incubated in media containing 100 mM-KCl. The InsP3-induced Ca2+ release was insensitive to a variety of Ca2+-channel blockers; however, the K+-channel blockers tetraethylammonium chloride (TEA; 1 mM) and 9-tetraethylammonium chloride (9-TEA; 1 mM) blocked InsP3-induced Ca2+ release. Moreover, addition of InsP3 increased 86Rb+ influx into the microsomes. The influx of 86Rb+ also was sensitive to TEA and 9-TEA. The above results suggest that InsP3-induced Ca2+ release requires an opposite flow of K+ ions, and modulation of K+ channels by TEA and 9-TEA may underlie the inhibition of InsP3-induced Ca2+ release from brain microsomes by these agents.