Abstract Low ouabain concentration (1 × 10−4 M) is shown to decrease intracellular K+ (K+in) and to increase intracellular Na+ (Na+in) in human fibroblast cell cultures. The same ouabain concentration was without effect upon K+in ad Na+in in rodent cultures such as BHK-21, mouse fibroblasts and rat glyoma C6 cells. K+in and Na+in in the mixed cultures of human and BHK-21 fibroblasts or human and mouse fibroblasts were found to be resistant to 1 × 10−4 M ouabain whereas that of the mixtures of human and rat glyoma C6 cells proved to be ouabain-sensitive. The gap-junction-mediated dye transfer was revealed between human and BHK-21 cells. Such an effect was very small in the human-C6 cell mixed culture. It is concluded that cells with active ion pumps can support the maintenance of K+ and Na+ gradients in cells with inactive pumps, provided that effective ion transport via gap junctions takes place.