Abstract Calcium-tolerant myocytes were isolated from adult rat hearts by collagenase perfusion and plated on various substrates in serum-free medium and their adhesion to various extracellular matrix (ECM) components was determined. The myocytes attached readily to dishes coated with collagen type IV (C-IV), laminin (LN), and to fetal bovine serum (FBS) in a manner dependent on the concentration of the components. Substantially fewer myocytes adhered to dishes coated with fibronectin (FN) or to uncoated plastic dishes. Cells adhered equally well to dishes coated with C-IV, LN and FBS within 1–4 h. However, when examined after 2 weeks in culture it was found that only C-IV and LN could support survival of the attached myocytes, and when cultured on C-IV or LN the myocytes were spread and had formed a dense monolayer. The actin filaments had at this time reorganized linearly along the long axis of the cell and the myocytes contracted spontaneously. Rabbit antibodies were raised against myocyte membranes and their ability to inhibit attachment to ECM components was studied. Purified IgG inhibited attachment to C-IV, while having only a minor effect on attachment to LN. These data are compatible with the presence of a specific cell surface component(s) that interacts with ECM substrates and influences cell shape and possibly thereby influences cellular functions.