Choline and neostigmine markedly antagonize the effect of acetylcholine (ACh) on the action potential of the venom-treated squid axon, although they themselves have no effect on conduction. Physostigmine also antagonizes the blocking action of ACh at a concentration well below that which has any effect on conduction. In contrast, d-tubocurarine (curare) increases the effect of ACh on the action potential. Choline, neostigmine, and physostigmine markedly decrease the penetration of C14-labeled ACh into the axoplasm of the squid axon. Curare, in contrast, increases the penetration of ACh, whereas dimethylcurare gives variable results. The results provide an explanation why physostigmine and neostigmine do not influence the action of ACh on axonal conduction in a way similar to that observed at the junction. The additive effect of curare and ACh on the action potential may be due either to the greater rate of penetration of ACh or to an additive effect of the two compounds on the receptor, or to a combination of both factors.

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