Studies were conducted to investigate the possible role of the brainstem midline region as a source of facilitatory input for the vomiting process. Experiments were conducted using the "fictive vomiting' model in decerebrate, paralysed cats. Dysfunction of the medullary midline region produced by localized injections of the neurotoxin kainic acid abolished or greatly attenuated fictive vomiting. In addition, some respiratory-related midline neurons were found to fire in synchrony with co-active phrenic and abdominal nerve discharge during fictive vomiting. These experiments demonstrate the importance of the medullary midline for the normal occurrence of the vomiting process. An explanation for the post-lesion elimination of vomiting is that the lesions remove an important source of facilitatory input to spinal respiratory motoneurons and/or to the brainstem circuitry that mediates vomiting.