Intracellular recordings were made in slices of human neocortex that had been surgically excised from patients in order to remove deep lying brain tumours. In more than half the neurones studied under voltage-clamp (n = 9), a non-inactivating K+-current was detected that was turned on at potentials positive to around -60 mV. This conductance persisted when Ca2+-flux into neurones was blocked with Cd2+ and it was suppressed by muscarine (20 microM). The slow kinetics and voltage sensitivity of this K+ conductance, together with its muscarinic suppression, identified it as the M-current (IM). In addition to IM, evidence for the existence of Ca2+ and Ca2+-activated conductances was obtained in human neurones. These results validate the extrapolation of animal-derived data and identify IM as a target for cholinergic modulation in the human.