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Electrophysiological differences among M cells, epicardium, endocardium and Purkinje fibres of the canine ventricle were studied over a wide range of stimulation cycle lengths, and the pharmacological response of these cell types to the sodium channel blocker tetrodotoxin, calcium channel blocker nifedipine and ATP-sensitive potassium channel activator pinacidil was compared. The experiments were carried out by applying standard intracellular microelectrode technique in isolated dog left ventricular preparations. The results confirmed the existence of M cells in the canine ventricle, in addition, the distribution of the rate of rise of the action potential upstroke and action potential amplitude values reflecting probably the inhomogeneity of the fast sodium current in these cells was revealed. It was also demonstrated that M cells differ from Purkinje fibres in some aspects which were not expected from previous investigations: (1) The early portion of the action potential duration restitution curve in M cells is more similar to that of endocardial and epicardial cells than to Purkinje fibres. (2) The plateau phase of the action potentials in Purkinje fibres developed at a more negative potential range than that in the other cell types studied. (3) The pharmacological response to tetrodotoxin and pinacidil in M cells resembles to that in the endocardial and epicardial cells more than in the Purkinje fibres. Our results provide further evidence in support of the existence of M cells but also indicate that there are important electrophysiological as well as pharmacological differences between M cells and Purkinje fibres.