Neuronal activity was investigated by extracellular microelectrodes in the pallidal region of freely moving cats during wakefulness (W), slow-wave sleep (SWS) and paradoxical sleep (PS). The firing of 150 units from 35 points was examined. On the basis of the modifications of firing rates and patterns during the sleep-wakefulness cycle, 5 groups of neurons were distinguished. Two of these groups were characterized by strong increase of firing rate in W and PS and in one of them this increase preceded the cortical activation at the SWS-PS transition by an average of 26 sec. The role played by the basal forebrain area in the regulation of the sleep-wakefulness cycle is discussed.