The concentration of extracellular calcium plays a critical role in synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability as well as other physiological processes. The time course and extent of local fluctuations in the concentration of this ion largely depend on its effective diffusion coefficient (D*) and it has been speculated that fixed negative charges on chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs) and other components of the extracellular matrix may influence calcium diffusion because it is a divalent cation. In this study we used ion-selective microelectrodes combined with pressure ejection or iontophoresis of ions from a micropipette to quantify diffusion characteristics of neocortex and hippocampus in rat brain slices. We show that D* for calcium is less than the value predicted from the behaviour of the monovalent cation tetramethylammonium (TMA), a commonly used diffusion probe, but D* for calcium increases in both brain regions after the slices are treated with chondroitinase ABC, an enzyme that predominantly cleaves chondroitin sulphate glycans. These results suggest that CSPGs do play a role in determining the local diffusion properties of calcium in brain tissue, most likely through electrostatic interactions mediating rapid equilibrium binding. In contrast, chondroitinase ABC does not affect either the TMA diffusion or the extracellular volume fraction, indicating that the enzyme does not alter the structure of the extracellular space and that the diffusion of small monovalent cations is not affected by CSPGs in the normal brain ionic milieu. Both calcium and CSPGs are known to have many distinct roles in brain physiology, including brain repair, and our study suggests they may be functionally coupled through calcium diffusion properties.