The action of a number of agents, which may be classified as "stabilizers" and "unstabilizers" on the electrical oscillations and after-potentials in the squid giant axon has been examined. The effects on the spike, "positive overshoot," and "potassium potential" were also observed, but where possible concentrations were employed which left these phenomena unaltered.
Veratrine augmented the oscillations and the negative after-potential, particularly with repetitive stimulation. Yohimbine caused a small long lasting positive after-potential and depressed the oscillations, effects also enhanced with repetitive activity. Cocaine and procaine suppressed the oscillations and the negative after-potential but DDT was completely inert. An elevation in the medium calcium depressed the oscillations and the naturally occurring negative after-potential; negative after-potentials induced with veratrine were increased by calcium. A decrease in the potassium augmented the oscillations and the negative after-potential.
A hypothesis is presented in which these effects are interpreted in terms of potassium concentration at the fiber surface as regulated by a labile permeability and metabolism. This is discussed in relation to the available evidence for these factors.
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the author's indebtedness to Dr. D. E. S. Brown, Director, and to his staff at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research for the cooperation and special facilities provided during the initiation of this work. Dr. T. Baylor of Princeton University very kindly provided the camera and film used in Bermuda.