Purpose: We investigated whether prostate interstitial cells generate spontaneous Ca(2+) oscillation, a proposed mechanism underlying pacemaker potentials to drive spontaneous activity in stromal smooth muscle cells. Materials and Methods: Intracellular free Ca(2+) in portions of guinea pig prostate and freshly isolated, single prostate interstitial cells were visualized using fluo-4 Ca(2+) fluorescence. Spontaneous electrical activity was recorded in situ with intracellular microelectrodes. Results: In whole tissue preparations spontaneous Ca(2+) flashes firing synchronously across all smooth muscle cells within the field of view resulted in muscle wall contractions. Nonpropagating Ca(2+) waves were also recorded in individual smooth muscle cells. Nifedipine (Sigma (R)) (1 mu M) largely decreased or abolished these Ca(2+) flashes and suppressed slow wave discharge upon blockade of their superimposed action potentials. Isolated prostate interstitial cells were readily distinguished from smooth muscle cells by their spiky processes and lack of contraction during intracellular Ca(2+) increases. Prostate interstitial cells generated spontaneous Ca(2+) transients in the form of whole cell flashes, intracellular Ca(2+) waves or localized Ca(2+) sparks. All 3 Ca(2+) signals were abolished by nicardipine (1 mu M), cyclopiazonic acid (10 mu M), caffeine (Sigma) (10 mM) or extracellular Ca(2+) removal. Conclusions: Prostate interstitial cells generate spontaneous Ca(2+) transients that occur at a frequency comparable to Ca(2+) flashes in situ or slow waves relying on functional internal Ca(2+) stores. However, unlike other interstitial cells in the urinary tract, Ca(2+) influx through L-type Ca(2+) channels is fundamental to Ca(2+) transient firings in prostate interstitial cells. Thus, it is not possible to conclude that prostate interstitial cells are responsible for pacemaker potential generation.