The effect of morphine on the uptake of 45Ca++ was studied in lysed synaptosomes obtained from homogenates of whole mouse brain. The addition of morphine, 10(-6) M, to the incubation medium or acute administration of 10 or 20 mg/kg s.c. resulted in a decrease in 45Ca++ uptake; this decrease was observed only in the presence of ATP (3 mM). In contrast, after morphine pellet implantation (72 hr) to induce tolerance and physical dependence, an enhancement of lysed synaptosomal 45Ca++ uptake occurred; the increase was obtained in the presence but not in the absence of ATP. The enhancement of Ca++ uptake appears to be related with the degree of tolerance and dependence development since a linear relationship was noted between the time of morphine pellet implantation and the increase in 45Ca++ uptake by lysed synaptosomes. The acute inhibitory action on 45Ca++ uptake by morphine was prevented in vitro by naloxone, 1.9 x 10(-8) M, and in vivo by 2 mg/kg of naloxone s.c. and the chronic enhancing action of morphine by the simultaneous implantation of a naloxone pellet with the morphine pellet. The present findings lend further support to our previous reports in which we suggest that alterations in Ca++ flux may be involved with morphine analgesia, tolerance and physical dependence.