Abstract Recent studies have revealed that noxious visceral inputs travel in the dorsal column pathway, and interactions between colorectal noxious and tactile inputs occur in the ventrobasal thalamus. This investigation was to test whether the somatovisceral interactions also take place at a lower level in the dorsal column nuclei. Extracellular single neuron recordings were carried out in nucleus gracilus of anesthetized rats. Forty-three neurons responsive to colorectal distension (CRD) all had excitatory responses to tactile stimuli, and their tactile responses were predominantly (31/43 units) enhanced by preceding CRD. In contrast, the neuronal responses to CRD were reduced in 22/43 units when preceded by tactile stimulation but in two units there was an enhancement. The similarity and differences in the gracile response features in comparison with the thalamic recordings suggest that somatovisceral interactions take place at multiple levels in the dorsal column-medial lemniscus system.