Tetrodotoxin-resistant electric activity in presynaptic terminals

J Physiol. 1969 Aug;203(2):459-87. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1969.sp008875.


1. The electric properties of the giant synapse in the stellate ganglion of the squid have been further investigated.2. During tetrodotoxin (TTX) paralysis, a local response can be elicited from the terminal parts of the presynaptic axons after intracellular injection of tetraethyl ammonium ions (TEA).3. The response is characterized by an action potential of variable size and duration, whose fall is often preceded by a prolonged plateau. The response, especially the duration of the plateau, is subject to ;fatigue' during repetitive stimulation.4. The TTX-resistant form of activity is localized in the region of the synaptic contacts, and shows a marked electrotonic decrement even within less than 1 mm from the synapse. It is found only on the afferent, not on the efferent, side of the synapse.5. During the plateau of the response, the membrane resistance is greatly reduced below its resting value.6. The response depends on presence of external calcium and increases in size and duration with the calcium concentration. Strontium and barium substitute effectively for calcium. Manganese and, to a lesser extent, magnesium, counteract calcium and reduce the response. The response also declines, and ultimately disappears, if sodium is withdrawn for long periods.7. The relation of the local TTX-resistant response to the influx of calcium ions and to the release of the synaptic transmitter is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Barium / pharmacology
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Calcium / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Manganese / pharmacology
  • Mollusca
  • Nerve Endings / physiology*
  • Paralysis / chemically induced
  • Sodium / pharmacology
  • Stellate Ganglion / physiology
  • Strontium / pharmacology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology*


  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds
  • Barium
  • Manganese
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Strontium