Electrophysiological and Fos-like protein immunocytochemical methods were used to identify the number and distribution of anterior hypothalamic neurons that are activated by changes in arterial pressure. First, in anesthetized, male Sprague-Dawley rats, arterial pressure increases and decreases led to differential activation of neurons in the anterior hypothalamic nucleus. Most of the units that responded to a rise in arterial pressure with a decrease in activity (pressor units) were located in the central part of the anterior hypothalamic nucleus, whereas units that increased firing when arterial pressure rose (the depressor units) were found throughout the nucleus. Second, in awake, male Sprague-Dawley rats, Fos-like protein immunoreactivity was mapped following sustained arterial pressure changes. Within the anterior hypothalamus, reduction in arterial pressure increased the number of Fos-labeled neurons primarily in the paraventricular nucleus and to a lesser extent in the anterior half of the anterior hypothalamic nucleus. In contrast, elevation in arterial pressure increased Fos labeling throughout the anterior hypothalamic nucleus and to a lesser extent in the paraventricular nucleus.