Intracellular concentrations of sodium and potassium as well as resting potentials and overshoots have been determined in heart tissue from chick embryos aged 2–18 days. Intracellular potassium declined from 167 mM at day 2 to 117–119 mM at days 14–18. Intracellular sodium remained nearly constant at 30–35 mM during the same period. The mean resting potential increased from -61.8 mV at day 3 to about -80 mV at days 14–18. The mean overshoot during the same period increased from 12 to 30 mV. PNa/PK calculated from the ion data and resting potentials declined from 0.08 at day 3 to 0.01 at days 14–18. Thus, the development of embryonic chick heart during days 2–14 is characterized by a declining intracellular potassium concentration and an increasing resting potential and overshoot. Heart cells from 7- to 8-day embryos, cultured either in monolayer or reassociated into aggregates, were compared with intact tissue of the same age. The intracellular concentrations of sodium and potassium were similar in the three preparations and cultured cells responded to incubation in low potassium medium or treatment with ouabain in a manner similar to that of intact tissue. Resting potentials and overshoots were also similar in the three preparations.

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