The effect of coenzyme Q (CoQ) homologues on the beating of myocardial cells was investigated in cultured cell sheets from mouse fetuses and quail embryos. Myocardial cell sheets grown in Eagle's minimum essential medium with fetal bovine serum showed very weak and irregular beating when this serum was removed from the medium. However, the depressed beating rate and amplitude recovered almost completely within a few minutes by adding CoQ10 to the medium, and the effect of CoQ10 continued over 1 h. CoQ9 showed a cardiostimulatory effect similar to that of CoQ10, but CoQ8 and CoQ7 showed almost no effect. Short homologues (less than CoQ4) inhibited the beating of cell sheets. The cardiostimulatory effect of CoQ10 was not blocked by atenolol, a selective beta-blocker. In addition, CoQ10 stimulated the formation of ATP, not cAMP. CoQ0 and CoQ3 inhibited beating rates by inhibiting ATP formation. In conclusion, only native CoQ homologues having a nona- or decaprenyl group showed a cardiostimulatory effect on cultured myocardial cells, probably by stimulating mitochondrial ATP formation.