Treatment of Nitella with distilled water apparently removes from the cell something which is responsible for the normal irritability and the potassium effect, (i.e. the large P.D. between a spot in contact with 0.01 M KCl and one in contact with 0.01 M NaCl). Presumably this substance (called R) is partially removed from the protoplasm by the distilled water. When this has happened a pinch which forces sap out into the protoplasm can restore its normal behavior.
The treatment with distilled water which removes the potassium effect from the outer protoplasmic surface does not seem to affect the inner protoplasmic surface in the same way since the latter retains the outwardly directed potential which is apparently due to the potassium in the sap. But the inner surface appears to be affected in such fashion as to prevent the increase in its permeability which is necessary for the production of an action current. The pinch restores its normal behavior, presumably by forcing R from the sap into the protoplasm.