Immunofluorescence colocalization techniques were used to examine the extent of coexistence of the endogenous opioid peptide dynorphin with catecholamines and the related opioid peptide enkephalin within neurons of the rat medulla oblongata. Immunoreactivities for dynorphin and the catecholamine-synthesizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase were found to coexist within a limited subpopulation of A2 catecholamine cells, localized to the medial nucleus of the nucleus tractus solitarii. Colocalization of the two opioid peptides was found mainly within perikarya situated in the medial and ventrolateral nuclei of the nucleus tractus solitarii. Triple-labeling studies revealed only rare cases of catecholamine/dynorphin/enkephalin coexistence. These data demonstrate that dynorphin is present within a restricted subpopulation of catecholamine neurons in the dorsal medulla oblongata. In addition, the content of either of the opioids enkephalin or dynorphin appears to distinguish subsets of medullary catecholamine neurons.