1. The experiments demonstrate that when a constant electric potential of sufficient intensity is applied to Noctiluca, the protoplasmic films which represent a part of the visible continuous phase of the cytoplasm and plasma membrane at the surface of the cell, become unstable and break down, thus releasing the acid contents of one of the internal discontinuous phases present in the cytoplasm of Noctiluca. This process which occurs first at anode then at the cathode side of the cell, appears to be a selective deemulsification or coalescence similar to that at the surface of an emulsion having a viscous continuous phase.

2. The experiments demonstrate that Nernst's equation

See PDF for Equation

which expresses approximately the relation of duration and intensity of a constant electric current to threshold stimulation of striated muscle, applies equally well to the process of anodal coalescence in Noctiluca.

3. Anodal and cathodal coalescence have different thresholds, due to the fact that the semipermeable plasma film at the surface of the cell is asymmetric with respect to the direction of the applied current. Attention is called to the possible relation between this phenomenon and the conditions occurring at the synapse between neurons.

4. The stability of the protoplasmic films in relation to the applied electric potential is greater in young cells than in old cells, or in other words the threshold intensity of the stimulus is higher for young than for old cells.

5. Attention is called to the occurrence in the same cell of different receptor-affector mechanisms having a corresponding difference in intensity threshold when an electric current is acting as a stimulus.

This content is only available as a PDF.