1. Ventral horn neurons were studied under voltage clamp during episodes of sensory-evoked rhythmic coactivation in the in vitro lamprey spinal cord-tailfin preparation in the presence of strychnine. 2. Voltage clamp under a range of holding potentials during episodes of rhythmic coactivation revealed inward currents coincident with ventral root bursting in the same hemisegment and an apparent reversal potential of about -10 mV. 3. The current-voltage relationship of the peak inward current during each burst of this activity demonstrated a marked voltage dependency. 4. The voltage dependence of the inward current was eliminated by the specific NMDA-receptor blocker, APV, and by removal of Mg2+ from the bathing solution. 5. At depolarized potentials a long-lasting outward current could be observed, indicating an apparent voltage-dependent conductance for K+ and/or Cl-. This current was also blocked by APV and increased by the removal of Mg2+. 6. These results provide evidence that during rhythmic coactivation in strychnine, endogenous release of excitatory amino acid transmitter induces nonlinear conductance properties in ventral horn neurons by the activation of NMDA receptors. The results provide additional evidence that such activation contributes to the membrane potential oscillations that underlie rhythmic locomotory activity.