Aim: To study the synaptic mechanisms involved in the 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A/7 (5-HT1A/7) receptor-mediated reflex control of cardiac vagal preganglionic neurons (CVPN). Methods: CVPN were retrogradely labeled and identified in brain stem slices of newborn rats, and their synaptic activity was examined using whole-cell patch-clamp. Results: 8-Hydroxy-2-(di-N-propylamino) tetralin (8-OH-DPAT), an agonist of 5-HT1A/7 receptors, had no effect on the glutamatergic inputs of CVPN. In contrast, it significantly decreased the frequency and the amplitude of both the GABAergic and the glycinergic spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSC). 8-OH-DPAT also caused significant amplitude decrease of the GABAergic currents evoked by stimulation of the nucleus tractus solitarius. Both the frequency inhibition and the amplitude inhibition of the GABAergic and the glycinergic sIPSC by 8-OH-DPAT had dose-dependent tendencies and could be reversed by WAY-100635, an antagonist of 5-HT1A/7 receptors. In the pre-existence of tetrodotoxin, 8-OH-DPAT had no effect on the GABAergic or the glycinergic miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents, and had no effect on the GABAergic or the glycinergic currents evoked by exogenous GABA or glycine. Conclusion: The 5-HT1A/7 receptor agonist excites CVPN indirectly via the inhibition of both the GABAergic and glycinergic inputs. These findings have at least in part revealed the synaptic mechanisms involved in the 5-HT1A/7 receptor-mediated reflex control of cardiac vagal nerves in intact animals.