Electrical properties of locust leg muscle fibers were studied by means of intracellular electrodes. In most fibers, a depolarizing current pulse initiated a local response. A delayed decrease in membrane resistance appeared with more than about 10 mv depolarization. In some fibers a regenerative response also was found. Membrane constants were measured, applying the short cable model. The value of the space constant λ was 1.6 mm and the calculated value of Rm was about 1750 ohm cm2. Action potentials could be elicited when the bathing fluid contained more than 2–5 mM Ba or Sr. Similar responses were seen with 2 mM Ca in the presence of tetraethylammonium (TEA). The overshoot of these action potentials increased with increasing [Ca++]o, [Sr++]o, or [Ba++]o, the increment for a 10-fold increase being about 29 mv for Ca and Sr and between 40 and 50 mv for Ba. These action potentials were inhibited by Mn ions but were not affected by tetrodotoxin or procaine. In solutions containing Ba or Sr, action potentials generated were suppressed by addition of Ca. The removal of Na ions did not change the configuration of the action potential. The results suggest that an increase in permeability to Ca, Ba, or Sr ions makes a major contribution to the initiation of action potentials in this tissue.

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