Intestinal smooth muscle cells were isolated from human bowel and maintained in culture through several passages. These cells were obtained by enzyme digestion of slices taken from the circular layer of the muscularis propria of human jejunum. When subcultured, they initially flattened out and then began proliferating after 3 days. After 3 weeks in culture, they began aggregating into ridges. Fluorohistochemical staining revealed numerous prominent actin stress fibers. When these cells were exposed to the C-terminal octapeptide of cholecystokinin they contracted in a dose-dependent fashion. The availability of human intestinal smooth muscle cells in culture will considerably enhance our ability to study the contractile, proliferative and connective tissue responses of the smooth muscle of the human gastrointestinal tract. © 1984, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.