The effects of the culture's age and of liposome treatments on the properties of muscarinic receptors in cultured rat heart myocytes prepared from the hearts of newborn (1–3 days old) rats were investigated. In these studies we investigated the binding characteristics of antagonists and agonists to the myocyte muscarinic receptors in young (5 days after plating) vs. older (14 days after plating) cultures. Our findings demonstrate that the aging of the cells in culture is accompanied by a reduction in the muscarinic binding capacity and by alterations in the proportion of high- and low-affinity states toward muscarinic agonists, as well as by striking changes in the mode of coupling of the receptors with guanine nucleotide binding protein(s) [G protein(s)]. The above effects of the culture's age occur concomitantly with alterations in the lipid composition of the cultured myocytes (in 14-day old cultures, the phosphatidylcholine/sphingomyelin ratio is reduced, and the cholesterol level is elevated). In order to explore whether the lipid composition is involved in the mechanism that alters the properties and coupling of the muscarinic receptors, we treated aging cultures with liposomes containing egg phosphatidylcholine. This treatment resulted in 14 day old cultures with a lipid composition similar to that of young cultures, and the treated myocytes demonstrated muscarinic receptor properties similar to those of young myocyte cultures. The implications for the role of membrane lipid composition and organization in determining the properties of the muscarinic receptors and their coupling with G proteins are discussed.