Compound action potentials of both myelinated (A) and non-myelinated (C) fibres in the common peroneal nerve of rabbits were studied during and after acute, graded compression of the nerve at 200 or 400 mmHg applied for 2 h or during ischaemia created by nitrogen inhalation or aortic occlusion. Compression of the nerve at 200 mmHg blocked the AI component (large myelinated fibres) after about 23 min, while compression at 400 mmHg shortened this time to 11 min. The A2 component (thinner myelinated fibres) had a lower conduction velocity and a higher resistance to compression. There was just a slight decrease in conduction velocity of the non-myelinated fibres when the nerves were compressed at 200 mmHg for 2 h. However, compression at 400 mmHg for 2 h induced a marked deterioration of amplitude and conduction velocity of the C-fibres. There was an incomplete restitution of function of A- and C-fibres during 2 h of recovery. The thinner myelinated fibres were more susceptible to deprivation of oxygen than the thicker ones, while non-myelinated fibres differed in response according to method of ischaemia induction. It is concluded that non-myelinated fibres are very resistant to compression and a very high pressure (greater than 400 mmHg) is needed to affect these fibres.