The aim of the present study was to determine, at the light microscopic level, whether the serotonergic fibers originating from the dorsal raphe nucleus (B7), median raphe nucleus (B8) and ventral tegmentum (B9) make putative synaptic contacts with cholinergic neurons of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis and substantia innominata. For this purpose, we utilized: (i) the anterograde transport of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin combined with choline acetyltransferase immunohistochemistry; (ii) choline acetyltransferase/tryptophan hydroxylase double immunohistochemistry; and (iii) the FluoroGold retrograde tracer technique combined with tryptophan hydroxylase immunohistochemistry. Following iontophoretic injections of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin in the dorsal raphe nucleus, labeling was observed primarily in the ventral aspects of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis and in the intermediate region of the substantia innominata. When Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin was combined with choline acetyltransferase immunohistochemistry, a close association between the Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin-positive fibers and cholinergic neurons was observed, even though the majority of the Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin-immunoreactive terminals seemed to establish contact with non-cholinergic elements. Following Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin injection in the median raphe nucleus, very few labeled fibers with no evident close contact with nucleus basalis magnocellularis and substantia innominata cholinergic neurons were observed. After tryptophan hydroxylase/choline acetyltransferase double immunohistochemistry, a plexus of serotonergic (tryptophan hydroxylase-positive) fibers in the vicinity of choline acetyltransferase-immunoreactive neurons of the substantia innominata and nucleus basalis magnocellularis was observed, and some serotonergic terminals have been shown to come into very close contact with the cholinergic cells. Most of the tryptophan hydroxylase-immunoreactive terminals seem to establish contacts with non-cholinergic cells. Following FluoroGold injection in the nucleus basalis magnocellularis and substantia innominata, the majority of retrogradely labeled neurons was observed mainly in the ventromedial cell group of the dorsal raphe nucleus. In this area, a minority of the FluoroGold-positive neurons was tryptophan hydroxylase immunoreactive. These findings show that serotonergic terminals, identified in very close association with the cholinergic neurons in the substantia innominata and nucleus basalis magnocellularis, derive primarily from the B7 serotonergic cell group of the dorsal raphe nucleus, and provide the neuroanatomical evidence for a direct functional interaction between these two neurotransmitter systems in the basal forebrain.