To reveal neurones in the cat medulla oblongata involved in carotid baroreceptor/chemoreceptor reflexes, the distribution of c-Fos oncoprotein immunoreactivity was studied following electrical stimulation of the right carotid sinus nerve. The neurochemistry of the activated neurones was investigated using antisera to tyrosine hydroxylase, neuropeptide Y, somatostatin, and glutamate. Nitric oxide containing neurones were identified using antiserum to nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and by the histochemical localization of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-diaphorase. Following sinus nerve stimulation numerous c-Fos-IR cells were detected both ipsilaterally and contralaterally in the nucleus tractus solitarii, the area postrema and throughout the ventrolateral medulla. Dual labelling studies revealed that 3.3% of c-Fos-immunoreactive cells in the nucleus tractus solitarii were also immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase. The double labelled cells were scattered within the medial and ventrolateral subnuclei, predominantly rostral to obex. A higher proportion (10.3%) of c-Fos-IR cells in the ventrolateral medulla also showed tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity. Caudal to obex, these were scattered in the reticular formation between the spinal trigeminal nucleus and the lateral reticular nucleus, while more rostrally they were found within the lateral reticular nucleus, the nucleus ambiguus and the lateral tegmental field. Cells expressing c-fos and reactive for glutamate, neuropeptide Y or NADPH-diaphorase (or NOS) were only rarely seen, and co-localization of c-Fos and somatostatin immunoreactivities was not seen. These results suggest that of the neurones forming pathways within the medulla activated on carotid sinus nerve stimulation, presumably mediating baro- and chemoreceptor reflexes, relatively few utilize catecholamines, glutamate, neuropeptide Y or nitric oxide as their transmitter substance.