The effect of reducing the external sodium concentration, [Na]o, on resting potential, action potential, membrane current, and transient current reversal potential in Myxicola giant axons was studied. Tris chloride was used as a substitute for NaCl. Preliminary experiments were carried out to insure that the effect of Tris substitution could be attributed entirely to the reduction in [Na]o. Both choline and tetramethylammonium chloride were found to have additional effects on the membrane. The transient current is carried largely by Na, while the delayed current seems to be independent of [Na]o. Transient current reversal potential behaves much like a pure Nernst equilibrium potential for sodium. Small deviations from this behavior are consistent with the possibility of some small nonsodium component in the transient current. An exact PNa/PK for the transient current channels could not be computed from these data, but is certainly well greater than unity and possibly quite large. The peak of the action potential varied with [Na]o as expected for a sodium action potential with some substantial potassium permeability at the time of peak. Resting membrane potential is independent of [Na]o. This finding is inconsistent with the view that the resting membrane potential is determined only by the distribution of K and Na, and PNa/PK. It is suggested that PNa/PK's obtained from resting membrane potential-potassium concentration data do not always have the physical meaning generally attributed to them.

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