The serotoninergic input to the mammalian cerebral cortex originates in the median and the dorsal raphe nuclei. Median raphe neurons have been previously shown to give rise to beaded varicose axons which form dense pericellular arrays (baskets) surrounding the soma and the proximal dendrites of certain cortical neurons. In the present study, we have searched for specific markers characterizing the neurons of the marmoset neocortex and hippocampus surrounded by these thick varicose serotonin-containing fibers. The non-pyramidal nature of these neurons, suggested by their dendritic arborization, was correlated, in immunocytochemical experiments with double-labelling to demonstrate their surrounding serotonin-containing basket and their content of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) or of the calcium-binding protein calbindin. Another calcium-binding protein common in numerous non-pyramidal cortical neurons, parvalbumin, was never found in neurons surrounded by serotonin-containing baskets. This organization was found in all areas of the neocortex and of the hippocampus where serotonin-containing baskets were present. One of the serotoninergic cortical inputs which originates from the brainstem tegmentum, traditionally described as "diffuse," proves to be highly selective in that a subset of its axons terminates preferentially on a subpopulation of inhibitory interneurons of the cerebral cortex. It may be emphasized that this subset of cortical interneurons has now been shown to be characterized not only by its axonal and dendritic arborization and its neurotransmitter, but also by a specific type of input which can modulate cortical function in a unique manner.