Ryanodine is a pharmacological agent that stimulates calcium leakage into the cytoplasm resulting in an increase in tension. In skeletal muscle, ryanodine acts primarily on the sarcoplasmic reticulum whereas in smooth muscle, the sites of action are less clear. Visually, the increase in tension is slow and the time course can be mimicked by mitochondrial poisoning and the resultant leak of mitochondrial calcium into the cytoplasm. Although it has been reported that ryanodine has no effect on calcium flow into or from mitochondria, the effect of ryanodine on mitochondrial oxidative function was not studied. In the current investigation direct measurements of the effect of ryanodine on mitochondrial oxygen utilization were made. The results demonstrate that ryanodine, even at high concentrations, has no effect (stimulatory or inhibitory) on mitochondrial oxidation.