This communication presents the design and application of an integrated environmental perfusion chamber and stage heating blanket suitable for time-lapse video microscopy of living cells. The system consists of two independently regulated components: a perfusion chamber suitable for the maintenance of cell viability and the variable delivery of environmental factors, and a separate heating blanket to control the temperature of the microscope stage and limit thermal conduction from the perfusion chamber. Two contrasting experiments are presented to demonstrate the versatility of the system. One long-term sequence illustrates the behaviour of cells exposed to ceramic fibres. The other shows the shrinking response of cultured articular cartilage chondrons under dynamic hyper-osmotic conditions designed to simulate joint loading. The chamber is simple in design, economical to produce and permits long-term examination of dynamic cellular behaviour while satisfying the fundamental requirements for the maintenance of environmental factors that influence cell viability.