Extracts of whole nerve (chelipeds of Cancer magister) cause inhibition of impulse generation of the crayfish stretch receptor preparation, similar to that produced by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is not found with extracts containing only sensory or sensory and motor fibers. Extracts of inhibitory fibers inhibit the stretch receptor discharge—indicating an inhibitory action equivalent to that of up to 30,000 micrograms of GABA per gm. wet weight of inhibitor fiber. This high value is taken as an indication that the inhibitory substance in crab inhibitory fibers is not identical with gamma-aminobutyric acid.
Whole nerves were found to contain 1.7 to 6.7 µg. acetylcholine per gm. nerve tissue (clam ventricle and frog rectus abdominis muscle). No acetylcholine could be detected in extracts of motor and inhibitory fibers. The acetylcholine content of sensory fibers can account for the acetylcholine activity of whole nerve extract.
It is concluded that the factor I of crustacean nerve is an exclusive property of the inhibitory fibers. The results support the assumption that factor I is the transmitter substance of inhibitory neurons in these animals.
The absence of acetylcholine in motor fibers indicates that this substance does not function as a transmitter of motor impulses in Crustacea, and explains the previously observed failure of the substance to elicit motor responses in these animals. The function of acetylcholine in sensory fibers is not yet clarified.