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Tetrandrine, a putative Ca2+ channel blocker, is extracted from the Chinese medicinal herb, Radix stephania tetrandrae. In the present study, the whole-cell version of the patch clamp technique was used to investigate the effects of tetrandrine on both T and L calcium channel currents in primary cultured neonatal rat ventricular cells. We show that tetrandrine inhibits both T and L calcium channel currents in ventricular cells. This inhibition of inward Ca2+ currents is concentration dependent and reversible. Tetrandrine does not shift the I-V relationship of the calcium currents. These results clearly demonstrate that tetrandrine acts as a calcium channel antagonist in ventricular cells. Previous data show that tetrandrine may be regarded as a wide-spectrum calcium channel antagonist.