Effect of verapamil and of extracellular Ca and Na on contraction frequency of cultured heart cells

David McCall

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18 Scopus citations


Monolayer cultures of myocardial cells were prepared by trypsin dispersion of neonatal rat ventricles. The cells were cultured for 4-5 days by which time a synchronously contracting monolayer of some 1.0 × l06 cells per 6-cm diam petri dish had formed. The contraction frequency and Na influx of the cells were unaffected by tetrodotoxin (2 × 10-5 mg/ml) but both were markedly reduced by the addition of verapamil (10-9 M to 10-5 M). The effect of verapamil on both parameters occurred very rapidly. Although unresponsive to change in [Ca]0 between 0.3 mM and 3.0 mM, the contraction frequency of the cells declined rapidly as the [Ca]0 was reduced below 0.3 mM. On the other hand the beating rate of the cells was linearly related to [Na]0 between 40 mM and 170 mM. At values [Na]0 below 40 mM the cells ceased to contract. It is therefore apparent that both [Ca]0 and [Na]0 contribute to the maintenance of the contraction frequency of cultured myocardial cells, but the latter is by far the more important. There also appeared to be, under all conditions, a close relationship between verapamilsensitive Na influx and contraction frequency. For the greater part this relationship was linear although at higher Na influx values it appeared to show evidence of saturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-549
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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