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Research Article

Intact individual heart cells isolated from human ventricular tissue.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 17 October 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:1013
  1. T Powell,
  2. M F Sturridge,
  3. S K Suvarna,
  4. D A Terrar,
  5. V W Twist


    The intricate architecture of heart muscle, comprising irregularly shaped cells which interdigitate in a complex three-dimensional array, has often compromised clear interpretation of experimental data obtained from the whole organ. One approach to minimise some of the difficulties is to use individual muscle cells in suspension, and data have already been reported using myocytes isolated from mammalian ventricles. It is difficult, however, to extrapolate results obtained from animal tissues to situations of medical relevance in man. Intact isolated muscle cells were obtained from human ventricular tissue by modifications of methods used for isolating smooth muscle, atrial, and ventricular tissue from animals. Electrical studies showed that these myocytes had functional characteristics similar to those observed in the whole heart. Such cells will prove a useful preparation for studies on both the mechanisms underlying myocardial performance in normal and diseased states and the response of heart tissue at the cellular level to conditions found during cardiac surgery.