In 14 ventilated, normocapnic baboons anaesthetised with alpha-chloralose, local CBF (hydrogen clearance) and the amplitude and latency of local components of the somatosensory evoked potential (SEP, median nerve stimulation) were measured bilaterally in ventrobasal thalamus (VPL), medial lemniscus (ML), and cerebral cortex before and during progressive ischaemia, produced by occlusion of the right middle cerebral artery and subsequent controlled reductions in mean systemic blood pressure (MSBP). The first significant reduction from control of the left cortical SEP amplitude occurred in the range of 30-40 mm Hg MSBP, but those of the VPL and ML responses only below 30 mm Hg; in the range of 20-30 mm Hg, the average SEP amplitudes in cortex, VPL, and ML were 8.6, 72.6, and 90.7% of control, respectively. In terms of local CBF, the cortical SEP threshold was in the range of 15-20 ml/100 g/min (as in previous work), that of VPL in the range of 10-15 ml/100 g/min, but the ML response was only markedly reduced below 10 ml/100 g/min. Thus, the differential ischaemic sensitivity of the SEP between the three regions was clearly demonstrated. These results indicate that as one descends the neuraxis, there is an increasing resistance of electrophysiological function to systemic hypotension, together with a decreasing threshold for local ischaemia.