In addition to modulatory actions on Na+-K+-ATPase, phospholemman (PLM) has been proposed to play a role in cell volume regulation. Overexpression of PLM induces ionic conductances, with 'PLM channels' exhibiting selectivity for taurine. Osmotic challenge of host cells overexpressing PLM increases taurine efflux and augments the cellular regulatory volume decrease (RVD) response, though a link between PLM and cell volume regulation has not been studied in the heart. We recently reported a depressed cardiac contractile function in PLM knockout mice in vivo, which was exacerbated in crystalloid-perfused isolated hearts, indicating that these hearts were osmotically challenged. To address this, the present study investigated the role of PLM in osmoregulation in the heart. Isolated PLM wild-type and knockout hearts were perfused with a crystalloid buffer supplemented with mannitol in a bid to prevent perfusate-induced cell swelling and maintain function. Accordingly, and in contrast to wild-type control hearts, contractile function was improved in PLM knockout hearts with 30 mM mannitol. To investigate further, isolated PLM wild-type and knockout cardiomyocytes were subjected to increasing hyposmotic challenges. Initial validation studies showed the IonOptix video edge-detection system to be a simple and accurate 'real-time' method for tracking cell width as a marker of cell size. Myocytes swelled equally in both genotypes, indicating that PLM, when expressed at physiological levels in cardiomyocytes, is not essential to limit water accumulation in response to a hyposmotic challenge. Interestingly, freshly isolated adult cardiomyocytes consistently failed to mount RVDs in response to cell swelling, adding to conflicting reports in the literature. A proposed perturbation of the RVD response as a result of the cell isolation process was not restored, however, with short-term culture in either adult or neonatal cardiomyocytes.