Freshly isolated adipocytes or cardiac myocytes appear to be subject to unspecific stimulation during isolation and subsequent handling, e.g. with respect to glucose transport. We have developed a modified procedure that yields rat cardiomyocytes with a very low basal, i.e. non stimulated hexose uptake rate (ca. 3 pmol * s-1 * mg protein-1 at 1 mM sugar), as compared to data reported by others. This low value correlates with the reported oxygen consumption of non-beating, isolated rat hearts, when these are perfused with glucose as the only substrate. The basal rate of glucose uptake in our quiescent cardiomyocytes is slightly lower than the value measured by others in beating rat hearts in vivo. Insulin (10 nM) stimulates 2-deoxy-D-glucose uptake 8- to 20-fold and 3-O-methyl-D-glucose uptake 14- to 20-fold, as compared to control. This insulin effect is markedly larger than that usually observed in isolated cardiomyocytes, but it is similar in magnitude to the stimulation of glucose transport reported for isolated, perfused rat hearts. In these cells, new stimulatory effects on the glucose transport, e.g. that of sulfhydryl reagents like phenylarsine oxide, become apparent. We conclude that the cardiomyocytes obtained by this modified method exhibit a basal glucose transport rate that is close to physiological values. These cells represent a new highly responsive model to detect and to investigate the effects of glucose transport stimulators (insulin, contraction etc.).