• interstitial Cajal-like cells;
  • arrhythmia;
  • atrium;
  • myocardium;
  • pulmonary veins


We present here evidence for the existence of a new type of interstitial cell in human myocardial sleeves of pulmonary veins: interstitial Cajal-like cell (ICLC). This cell fulfils the criteria for positive diagnosis of ICLC, including CD 117/c-kit positivity. Transmission electron microscopy revealed typical ICLC with 2 or 3 very long processes (several tens of mm) suddenly emerging from the cellular body. Also, these processes appear moniliform but extremely thin (0.1–0.4 mm) under the resolving power of the usual microscopy. Cell processes establish close spatial relationships between each other, as well as with capillaries and nerve endings. ICLC appear located among the myocardial cells and particularly at the border between the myocardial sleeve and pulmonary vein wall.