The discharges of individual slowly adapting pulmonary stretch receptors (PSRs) and single respiratory neurons of the dorsal respiratory group (DRG) within the ventrolateral subnucleus of the solitary tract were recorded simultaneously in anesthetized, paralyzed, artificially ventilated cats. DRG neurons were classified as P-cell, I-alpha, or I-beta, based on the alteration in activity during respiratory cycles when lung inflation was withheld compared to activity when the lungs were inflated in phase with central inspiratory drive. In some cases, vagal stimulation was also used to classify respiratory neurons. Synaptic input of PSRs onto DRG neurons was examined by the construction of cross-correlograms for the simultaneously recorded discharge of individual PSRs (reference events) and individual DRG neurons (correlated events). Monosynaptic excitatory connections were demonstrated by peaks in 26% of the cross-correlograms of PSR and P-cell pairs and 20% of the cross-correlograms of PSR and I-beta neuron pairs. The ratio of the peak number of occurrences to the background number of occurrences (k value) was comparable for P-cells and I-beta neurons: 2.96 +/- 2.09 and 1.62 +/- 0.36 (mean +/- SD), respectively. P-cells and I-beta neurons also had similar short latencies for the peak of increased probability of discharge: 2.74 +/- 0.53 and 2.57 +/- 0.63 ms, respectively. No evidence was obtained demonstrating synaptic connectivity between PSRs and I-alpha neurons. Interpretations of this negative result are discussed.