One of the oldest questions of electrophysiology, the origin of the resting potential, has yet to be answered satisfactorily for most cells. Isolated frog sympathetic neurons, studied with whole-cell recording, generally have resting potentials of approximately -75 mV with an input resistance of approximately 300 M omega. These properties are not expected from the M-type K+ current (IM) or from other ionic currents previously described in these cells. In the -60 to -110 M mV voltage region, at least three currents are present: an inwardly rectifying current (IQ), a resting current with little voltage sensitivity carried at least in part by K+, and a (Na+,K+)ATPase pump current. The resting K+ current, not IM or IQ is the primary ionic current near the resting potential under these conditions. The electrogenic pump contributes an additional approximately 10 mV of hyperpolarization.