[3H]Nitrendipine binds to canine cardiac sarcolemma in a specific, saturable and rapid manner. Bepridil, a Ca++ channel inhibitor, stimulates this binding at submicromolar concentrations, but inhibits it noncompetitively at higher concentrations (IC50 = 15.8 microM). The increase in binding was due primarily to a 30% increase in the association rate constant (k+1) of [3H]nitrendipine, causing a decrease in the KD from a control value of 0.40 to 0.28 nM. In contrast to bepridil, diltiazem causes only an increase in [3H] nitrendipine binding without any inhibition. The increase was due primarily to an increase in receptor site density (maximum binding). These results show that the regulatory effects of bepridil and diltiazem on [3H]nitrendipine binding to cardiac tissue are different. The stimulatory effects of bepridil appeared to be pharmacologically relevant as low concentrations of bepridil potentiated the negative inotropic effect of nitrendipine in isolated perfused rat hearts.