Striatal fast-spiking (FS) cells in slices fire in the gamma frequency range and in vivo are often phase-locked to gamma oscillations in the field potential. We studied the firing patterns of these cells in slices from rats ages 16-23 days to determine the mechanism of their gamma resonance. The resonance of striatal FS cells was manifested as a minimum frequency for repetitive firing. At rheobase, cells fired a doublet of action potentials or doublets separated by pauses, with an instantaneous firing rate averaging 44 spikes/s. The minimum rate for sustained firing was also responsible for the stuttering firing pattern. Firing rate adapted during each episode of firing, and bursts were terminated when firing was reduced to the minimum sustainable rate. Resonance and stuttering continued after blockade of Kv3 current using tetraethylammonium (0.1-1 mM). Both gamma resonance and stuttering were strongly dependent on Kv1 current. Blockade of Kv1 channels with dendrotoxin-I (100 nM) completely abolished the stuttering firing pattern, greatly lowered the minimum firing rate, abolished gamma-band subthreshold oscillations, and slowed spike frequency adaptation. The loss of resonance could be accounted for by a reduction in potassium current near spike threshold and the emergence of a fixed spike threshold. Inactivation of the Kv1 channel combined with the minimum firing rate could account for the stuttering firing pattern. The resonant properties conferred by this channel were shown to be adequate to account for their phase-locking to gamma-frequency inputs as seen in vivo.