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Abnormalities of calcium binding and calcium transport in cells from hypertensive subjects or animals have been previously described. Total cell sodium is reported to be increased in white blood cells from hypertensive subjects; thus by analogy with Blaustein's proposal for the vascular smooth muscle cell, mononuclear leucocyte cytosolic calcium might be increased via a reduction of the Na-Ca exchange. Using the fluorescent calcium indicator, quin 2, cytosolic calcium was measured in mononuclear leucocytes from 22 hypertensive and 19 normotensive subjects. There was no significant difference between the mononuclear leucocyte cytosolic calcium level in the two groups. Incubation of the cells with 104 M ouabain reduced 86rubidium (86Rb) uptake by 80% of the control value but failed to alter cytosolic calcium. These findings are consistent with a minimal role of the Na-Ca exchange in the mononuclear leucocyte and may explain why the cytosolic calcium was not increased in hypertension despite the previous reports of increased total cell sodium in white blood cells.