1. Intracellular injection of tetraethylammonium chloride (TEA) into a giant axon of the squid prolongs the duration of the action potential without changing the resting potential (Fig. 3). The prolongation is sometimes 100-fold or more.

2. The action potential of a giant axon treated with TEA has an initial peak followed by a plateau (Fig. 3). The membrane resistance during the plateau is practically normal (Fig. 4). Near the end of the action potential, there is an apparent increase in the membrane resistance (Fig. 5D and Fig. 6, right).

3. The phenomenon of abolition of action potentials was demonstrated in the squid giant axon treated with TEA (Fig. 7). Following an action potential abolished in its early phase, there is no refractoriness (Fig. 8).

4. By the method of voltage clamp, the voltage-current relation was investigated on normal squid axons as well as on axons treated with TEA (Figs. 9 and 10).

5. The presence of stable states of the membrane was demonstrated by clamping the membrane potential with two voltage steps (Fig. 11). Experimental evidence was presented showing that, in an "unstable" state, the membrane conductance is not uniquely determined by the membrane potential.

6. The effect of low sodium water was investigated in the axon treated with TEA (Fig. 12).

7. The similarity between the action potential of a squid axon under TEA and that of the vertebrate cardiac muscle was stressed. The experimental results were interpreted as supporting the view that there are two stable states in the membrane. Initiation and abolition of an action potential were explained as transitions between the two states.

This content is only available as a PDF.