We examined the effects of H2O2 on Cl- secretion across human colonic T84 cells grown on permeable supports and mounted in modified Ussing chambers. Forskolin-induced short-circuit current, a measure of Cl- secretion, was inhibited in a concentration-dependent fashion when monolayers were pretreated with H2O2 for 30 min (30-100% inhibition between 500 μM and 5 mM). Moreover, H2O2 inhibited 76% of the Cl- current across monolayers when the basolateral membranes were permeabilized with nystatin (200 μg/ml). When the apical membrane was permeabilized with amphotericin B, H2O2 inhibited the Na+ current (a measure of Na+-K+-ATPase activity) by 68% but increased the K+ current more than threefold. In addition to its effects on ion transport pathways, H2O2 also decreased intracellular ATP levels by 43%. We conclude that the principal effect of H2O2 on colonic Cl- secretion is inhibitory. This may be due to a decrease in ATP levels following H2O2 treatment, which subsequently results in an inhibition of the apical membrane Cl- conductance and basolateral membrane Na+-K+- ATPase activity. Alternatively, H2O2 may alter Cl- secretion by direct action on the transporters or alterations in signal transduction pathways.