We investigated the effect of deprivation of oxygen circulation in the organ bath on the tension generation of the diaphragm in vitro. Adult male Swiss Albino rats were quickly killed and the left hemidiaphragms removed. Isolated phrenic nerve-diaphragmatic strip preparations were placed in an individual organ chamber containing Krebs solution and were connected to a force displacement transducer. The solution was maintained at 32 degrees C and bubbled with 95% O-2-5% CO2. For the measurement of isometric twitch characteristics, supramaximal voltage was delivered via phrenic nerve electrodes. After turning off the gas circulation, isometric twitch characteristics were determined at 5, 10, 15, and 20 minutes. Then the muscle was allowed to recover under aerobic conditions (i.e., while bathed in a fresh solution, gassed with 95% O-2-5% CO2). The isometric contractile properties were determined at the same intervals.