The changing electrical and morphological properties of demyelinating and remyelinating nerve fibres have been studied in rat ventral roots after intrathecal injection of lysophosphatidyl choline (LPC). The spatial distribution of electrical excitability within the lesion has been studied in undissected single fibres using high-resolution longitudinal current analysis. The distribution of excitability has been correlated with the ultrastructure of the fibres and with the distribution of the surrounding Schwann cells. Demyelinated axolemma was initially not excited, but conduction across demyelinated internodes appeared progressively from the 4th day after LPC injection. Conduction was never continuous, but proceeded via new foci of inward membrane current as early as 4 days after LPC injection, i.e. 3 days before the onset of remyelination. It is suggested that these foci (termed phi-nodes to distinguish them from the nodes of Ranvier distributed along myelinated nerve fibres) are precursors of nodes of Ranvier, and may indicate aggregates of sodium channels which form along the demyelinated axolemma prior to remyelination.