Strychnine blocks sodium conductance in the frog node of Ranvier. This block was studied by reducing and slowing sodium inactivation with scorpion venom. The block is voltage and time dependent. The more positive the axoplasm the greater the block and the faster the approach to equilibrium. Some evidence is presented suggesting that only open channels can be blocked. The block is reduced by raising external sodium or lithium but not impermeant cations. A quaternary derivative of strychnine was synthesized and found to have the same action only when applied intracellularly. We conclude that strychnine blocks sodium channels by a mechanism analogous to that by which it blocks potassium channels. The potassium channel block had previously been found to be identical to that by tetraethylammonium ion derivatives. In addition, strychnine resembles procaine and its derivatives in both its structure and the mechanism of sodium channel block.

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