Electrophysiological and mechanical effects of histamine were observed in guinea-pig papillary muscle which had been depolarized and rendered inexcitable by elevation of potassium concentration in Tyrode solution to 27 mM. 1. Histamine (3 X 10(-7) to 3 X 10(-5) M) restored the action potential and tension development. The amplitude of the action potential was increased by 31.6 mV/10-fold increase in extracellular Ca2+ concentration. Nifedipine (10(-6) M) abolished the electrical and mechanical responses which had been restored by histamine (10(-5) M) but TTX (10(-5) M) did not affect them. Reduction of the extracellular Na+ concentration to one half decreased the amplitude and the maximum rate of rise of the action potential restored by histamine (10(-5) M) while the peak tension was increased and an after-contraction occurred. 2. The maximum rate of rise and the amplitude of the action potential restored by histamine (10(-5) M) decreased with increase in stimulus frequency from 0.1-1.6 Hz. The peak tension decreased and then increased. The shape of the developed tension was also changed. In the presence of caffeine (1 mM), the only effect of an increase in stimulus frequency was a decrease in peak tension but the change in the shape of developed tension did not occur. 3. The electrical and mechanical responses restored by histamine (3 X 10(-6) or 10(-5) M) were depressed by metiamide (3 X 10(-6) M) but not by diphenhydramine (10(-5) M) or bufetolol (10(-6) M). 4. The electrical response restored by histamine (10(-6) or 10(-5) M) was enhanced by papaverine (10(-5) M) and depressed by N-methylimidazole (10 mM). It is concluded that histamine may enhance the slow inward Ca2+ current mediated by histamine H2-receptors and the adenylate cyclase system in ventricular muscle and that the positive inotropic action of histamine may be attributed to these mechanisms.