1. Spikes evoked in spinal motoneurons by antidromic stimulation normally present an inflection in their rising phase. A similar inflection is present in spikes evoked by direct stimulation with short pulses.
2. In either case the inflection becomes less prominent if the motoneuron membrane is depolarized and more prominent when it is hyperpolarized. Both antidromic and direct spikes may fall from the level of the inflection thus evoking a "small spike" only if sufficient hyperpolarization is applied. Similar events occur when antidromic or direct spikes are evoked in the aftermath of a preceding spike.
3. Spikes evoked by direct stimuli applied shortly after firing of a "small spike" may also become partially blocked at a critical stimulus interval. At shorter intervals, however, spike size again increases and no inflection can be detected in the rising phase.
4. When a weak direct stimulus evokes a small spike only, a stronger stimulus may evoke a full spike. Curves of the strength of the stimuli required for eliciting small or full spikes have been constructed in a number of conditions.
5. To explain the results it is assumed that threshold of the major portions of the soma membrane is higher than the threshold of the axon, the transition occurring over a finite area near the axon hillock. Following antidromic or direct stimulation, soma excitation is then initiated in the region of the axon hillock. Spread of activity towards the soma occurs at first slowly and with low safety factor. At this stage block may be easily evoked. Safety factor for propagation increases rapidly as the growing impulse involves larger and larger areas of the soma membrane so that, once the critical areas are excited, activation of the remaining portions of the soma membrane will suddenly occur.