Using microiontophoresis on unanesthetized head-restrained cats, we have found two distinct groups of neurones exhibiting tonic discharge specific to paradoxical sleep (PS) (PS-on neurones) in the mesopontine tegmentum, which contains both cholinergic and non-cholinergic neurones. One group is characterized by a broad action potential, slow conduction velocity and an inhibitory response to a potent cholinergic agonist, carbachol, applied iontophoretically during PS. The other is characterized by a short action potential, fast conduction velocity and an excitatory response to applied carbachol. All PS-on neurones were excited by glutamate. The present findings demonstrate the existence of two types of PS-on neurones and suggest their cholinergic and noncholinergic neurochemical properties.