1. The preparation of cell suspensions by treatment of chick embryo hearts with collagenase at various stages of development is described. 2. Measurements of oxygen consumption, incorporation of labelled leucine into protein and accumulation of labelled α-aminoisobutyric acid against a concentration gradient indicated a long-lasting viability of the isolated heart cells in vitro; a satisfactory preservation of subcellular structures, including plasma membrane, was assessed by electron-microscopic examination. 3. The rate of α-aminoisobutyric acid accumulation by cardiac cells isolated from hearts at different stages of embryological development decreased with aging; insulin stimulated the intracellular accumulation of this amino acid analogue. 4. Insulin increased the uptake by isolated heart cells of several 14C-labelled naturally occurring amino acids; however, the fraction of amino acid taken up by the cells that was recovered free intracellularly, and therefore the concentration ratio (between intracellular water and medium), was enhanced by the hormone only with glycine, proline, serine, threonine, histidine and methionine. When isolated heart cells were incubated in the presence of a mixture of labelled amino acids, the addition of insulin increased the disappearance of radioactivity from the medium. 5. The general pattern of amino acid transport (in the absence and in the presence of insulin) in isolated cardiac cells was similar to that found in intact hearts, suggesting that the biological preparation described in this paper might be useful for studies of cell permeability and insulin action.

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