Abstract Extracellular recordings were made from 607 spontaneously firing neurons within the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) and its vicinity in urethane-anesthetized male rats. Following electrical stimulation of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) area, 21% of the neurons were orthodromically excited, 6% were inhibited and 2.5% were antidromically activated. The antidromic spike latencies were 22–64 ms. Among those orthodromically responding neurons, 81 neurons were tested by pressure pulse stimulation of the isolated carotid sinus. The pressure stimulation produced excitation in 7 and inhibition in 13 neurons. Of the 8 tested neurons which were antidromically activated, one neuron was excited and another neuron inhibited by the pressure pulse stimulation. These results provide electrophysiological evidence for reciprocal connections between neurons in the NTS region and the PVN, and give support to the hypothesis that the PVN is involved in the neural control of the cardiovascular system.