The passive electrical properties of synthetic strands of cardiac muscle, grown in tissue culture, were studied using two intracellular microelectrodes: one to inject a rectangular pulse of current and the other to record the resultant displacement of membrane potential at various distances from the current source. In all preparations, the potential displacement, instead of approaching a steady value as would be expected for a cell with constant electrical properties, increased slowly with time throughout the current step. In such circumstances, the specific electrical constants for the membrane and cytoplasm must not be obtained by applying the usual methods, which are based on the analytical solution of the partial differential equation describing a one-dimensional cell with constant electrical properties. A satisfactory fit of the potential waveforms was, however, obtained with numerical solutions of a modified form of this equation in which the membrane resistance increased linearly with time. Best fits of the waveforms from 12 preparations gave the following values for the membrane resistance times unit length, membrane capacitance per unit length, and for the myoplasmic resistance: 1.22 plus or minus 0.13 x 10-5 omegacm, 0.224 plus or minus 0.023 uF with cm-minus 1, and 1.37 plus or minus 0.13 x 10-7 omegacm-minus 1, respectively. The value of membrane capacitance per unit length was close to that obtained from the time constant of the foot of the action potential and was in keeping with the generally satisfactory fit of the recorded waveforms with solutions of the cable equation in which the membrane impedance is that of a single capacitor and resistor in parallel. The area of membrane per unit length and the cross-sectional area of myoplasm at any given length of the preparation were determined from light and composite electron micrographs, and these were used to calculate the following values for the specific electrical membrane resistance, membrane capacitance, and the resistivity of the cytoplasm: 20.5 plus or minus 3.0 x 10-3 omegacm-2, l.54 plus or minus 0.24 uFWITHcm-minus 2, and 180 plus or minus 34 omegacm, respectively.

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