1. We investigated the electrical properties of globus pallidus neurons intracellularly using brain slices from adult guinea pigs. Three types of neurons were identified according to their intrinsic electrophysiological properties. 2. Type I neurons (59%) were silent at the resting membrane level (-65 +/- 10 mV, mean +/- SD) and generated a burst of spikes, with strong accommodation, to depolarizing current injection. Calcium-dependent low-frequency (1-8 Hz) membrane oscillations were often elicited by membrane depolarization (-53 +/- 8 mV). A low-threshold calcium conductance and an A-current were also identified. The mean input resistance of this neuronal type was 70 +/- 22 M omega. 3. Type II neurons (37%) fired spontaneously at the resting membrane level (-59 +/- 9 mV). Their repetitive firing (< or = 200 Hz) was very sensitive to the amplitude of injected current and showed weak accommodation. Sodium-dependent high-frequency (20-100 Hz) subthreshold membrane oscillations were often elicited by membrane depolarization. This neuronal type demonstrated a low-threshold calcium spike and had the highest input resistance (134 +/- 62 M omega) of the three neuron types. 4. Type III neurons (4%) did not fire spontaneously at the resting membrane level (-73 +/- 5 mV). Their action potentials were characterized by a long duration (2.3 +/- 0.6 ms). Repetitive firing elicited by depolarizing current injection showed weak or no accommodation. This neuronal type had an A-current and showed the lowest input resistance (52 +/- 35 M omega) of the three neuron types. 5. Stimulation of the caudoputamen evoked inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in Type I and II neurons. In Type II neurons the IPSPs were usually followed by rebound firing. Excitatory postsynaptic potentials and antidromic responses were also elicited in some Type I and II neurons. The estimated conduction velocity of the striopallidal projection was < 1 m/s (Type I neurons, 0.49 +/- 0.37 m/s; Type II neurons, 0.33 +/- 0.13 m/s).