Alternating current threshold excitation of space-clamped squid giant axons was measured as a function of frequency, external calcium concentration, temperature (from 10° to 35°C), and hyper- and depolarizing steps. In normal axons there is usually an optimum frequency at about 120 Hz, at which the threshold is a minimum. The threshold rises at both lower and higher frequencies to give a resonance curve. Low calcium causes an increase in optimum frequency, a decrease in current threshold, and an increase in sharpness of tuning in both real axons and axons computed according to the Hodgkin-Huxley formulation; high calcium causes opposite effects. An increase in temperature causes an increase of optimum frequency, an increase in sharpness of tuning, and an increase in threshold current in both real and computed axons. The Q10 for the effect of temperature upon optimum frequency is 1.8 in real and computed axons at moderate temperatures. Hyperpolarization causes (a) a decrease in optimum frequency, (b) a decrease in sharpness of tuning, and (c) an increase in threshold. Depolarization causes opposite effects.

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