In the oxygenated excised squid (Loligo pealii) stellate ganglion preparation one can produce excitation of the stellar giant axons by stimulating the second largest (accessory fiber, Young, 1939) or other smaller preganglionic giant axons. Impulse transmission is believed to occur at the proximal synapses of the stellar giant axons rather than the distal (giant) synapses which are excited by the largest giant preaxon.
Proximal synaptic transmission is more readily depressed by hypoxia and can be fatigued independently of, and with fewer impulses than, the giant synapses. Intracellular recording from the last stellar axon at its inflection in the ganglion reveals both proximal and distal excitatory postsynaptic potentials EPSP's). The synaptic delay, temporal form of the EPSP, and depolarization for spike initiation were similar for both synapses.
If the proximal EPSP occurs shortly after excitation by the giant synapse it reduces the undershoot and adds to the falling phase of the spike. If it occurs later it can produce a second spike. Parallel results were obtained when the proximal EPSP's arrived earlier than the EPSP of the giant synapse.
In fatigued preparations it was possible to sum distal and proximal or two proximal EPSP's and achieve spike excitation.