1. A method is described that enables the electrical responses of motor axons isolated from the leg nerve of the crab Carcinus to be studied close to or at the site of imposed electrical currents, while this area is continuously bathed by physiological solution.
2. The three classes of repetitive responses originally described by Hodgkin (1948) have occurred during the present work and additional features of these responses have been described.
3. The results support Hodgkin's original thesis that the development of the spike generating mechanisms determine the response frequency during a repetitive response, but a progressive lengthening of the relative refractory period occurs during this response and is considered to be the agency that causes the gradual slowing down of the response frequency, i.e. the adaption.
4. The processes of membrane restoration (repolarization and recovery) have been shown to be sensitive to applied currents; anodal current hastening and cathodal current slowing it. These phenomena provide a basis for interpreting the change in the duration of the relative refractory period observed during the repetitive response.
5. The differences between the form of the repetitive response in the crab axon and the predictions of the Hodgkin-Huxley equations is discussed and it seems likely that the rapid recovery of the membrane resistance during the repolarization phase of the crab axon action potential underlies this difference.