The effect of changing the ionic composition of bathing fluid on the receptor potential of primary endings has been examined in isolated mammalian spindles whose capsule was removed in the sensory region. After impulse activity is blocked by tetrodotoxin, ramp-and-hold stretch evokes a characteristic pattern of potential change consisting of a greater dynamic depolarization during the ramp phase and a smaller static depolarization during the hold phase. After a high-velocity ramp there is a transient post-dynamic undershoot to below the static level. On release from hold stretch, the potential shows a postrelease undershoot relative to base line. The depolarization produced by stretch is rapidly decreased by the removal of Na+ and Ca2+. Addition of normal Ca2+ partly restores the response. Stretch appears to increase the conductance to Na+ and Ca2+ in the sensory terminals. The postdynamic undershoot is diminished by raising external K+ and blocked by tetraethylammonium (TEA). It apparently results from a voltage-dependent potassium conductance. The postrelease undershoot is decreased by raising external K+, but is not blocked by TEA. It is presumably caused by a relative increase in potassium conductance on release. Substitution of isethionate for Cl- or the addition of ouabain does not alter the postdynamic and postrelease undershoots.

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