1. The metathoracic anterior coxal adductor (a.c.a.) muscle of the locust and the grasshopper is innervated by a peripheral inhibitory axon similar to the inhibitory axon which innervates the metathoracic extensor tibiae muscles of these insects. No evidence was found to justify calling this axon an inhibitory-conditioning axon.
2. Hyperpolarizing inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) are normally recorded from a.c.a. muscle fibres during stimulation of this axon, and if the bathing medium contains a high concentration of potassium ions the tonic fibres of the a.c.a. muscle relax slightly during inhibitory stimulation.
3. The IPSPs are chloride potentials and can be converted to depolarizing responses by changing either the external or internal chloride concentration of the a.c.a. muscle fibres. Depolarizing IPSPs are frequently accompanied by small contractions of a.c.a. muscle fibres innervated by the inhibitory axon.
4. The a.c.a. muscle fibres are permeable to potassium and chloride ions but influx of potassium chloride is much faster than efflux. Therefore when a.c.a. muscle fibres are loaded with chloride by exposing them to high-K saline (20-100 m-equiv. potassium/l.) and are then returned to normal (10 m-equiv. potassium/l.) saline the internal chloride concentration remains elevated for some time and during this period the equilibrium potential for the inhibitory response is less negative than the resting potential and the IPSPs are depolarizing.
5. Depolarizing IPSPs are usually recorded from a.c.a. muscle fibres of locusts and grasshoppers when these fibres are transferred from their normal bathing medium, haemolymph, to 10 K saline. Probably the main reason for this reversal of the IPSPs is the entry of KCl into the muscle fibres during dissection of the nerve-muscle preparations. Large quantities of KCl would be released into the environment surrounding these preparations from muscle fibres cut and removed during dissection.
6.Depolarizing IPSPs were more frequently recorded from muscle fibres of grassfed locusts than from fibres of starved locusts. The potassium concentration of haemolymph of grass fed locusts is higher than that of locust saline (10 m-equiv./l.).
7. The potassium concentration of locust haemolymph presumably fluctuates in vivo but these fluctuations are too slow to affect the sign of the IPSP. The IPSPs are therefore always hyperpolarizing in vivo.
8. The effect of changes in the potassium concentration of the bathing medium on the magnitude and polarity of the IPSP could account for the diverse responses recorded previously from a.c.a. muscle fibres of locusts and grasshoppers.