In 7 cats, total transections of the brainstem at the caudal pontine or the prebulbar level led to preparations which presented neither behavioral nor electrophysiological signs of paradoxical sleep (PS) throughout their survival periods (17-30 days). Carbachol microinjections in the mediodorsal pontine tegmentum (MDPT), which induced PS in the intact cat, were no longer able to induce it in the transected animals. Rapid eye movement (REM) and pontogeniculo-occipital (PGO)-like bursts were evoked by carbachol microinjections in the pontine magnocellular tegmental field (FTM) of cats transected at the prebulbar level, as in the intact cat. Only REM bursts were obtained by the same injections in caudal pontine transected cats. It is concluded that (1) the pons is insufficient to generate PS; (2) complex reciprocal interactions with the medulla are necessary for the generation of this state of sleep; and (3) the production of long REM and PGO bursts is controlled by the caudal pontine tegmentum.