This study was undertaken to determine the influence of 1) the left atrial receptors (LA) on the ability of the carotid sinus baroreceptors (CS) to regulate heart rate and 2) the CS on the reflex increase in heart rate mediated by the LA. The LA were stimulated by stretching the pulmonary vein-atrial junctions in dogs anesthetized with alpha-chloralose. Aortic pressure was controlled, and the pressure in the CS was regulated. Stimulus-response curves were obtained relating heart rate to pressures in the CS, in the control state, and during stimulation of LA (6 dogs). Factorial analysis revealed that LA exerted a significant influence on heart rate (P less than 0.01). Next the CS pressure was set at mid, low, and high levels and the LA stimulated. It was found that the effect on heart rate was greatest at the mid setting (+19.3 +/- 2.9 beats/min) and least at the low setting of the pressure in the CS (+0.9 +/- 0.5, 11 dogs). Sympathetic blockade attenuated significantly the response in the mid setting of the CS pressure and left intact the response at the high setting of the pressure in the CS. It is concluded that there is a significant interaction between these two reflexes.