The connections of the laterodorsal tegmental nucleus (LDTg) have been investigated using anterograde and retrograde lectin tracers with immunocytochemical detection. Inputs to LDTg were found from frontal cortex, diagonal band, preoptic areas, lateral hypothalamus, lateral mamillary nucleus, lateral habenula; the interpeduncular nucleus, ventral tegmental area, substantia nigra and retrorubral fields; the medial terminal nucleus, interstitial nucleus, supraoculomotor central grey, medial pretectum, nucleus of the posterior commissure, paramedian pontine reticular formation, paraabducens and paratrochlear region; the parabrachial nuclei and nucleus of the tractus solitarius. Terminal labelling from PHA-L injections of LDTg was found in infralimbic, cingulate and hippocampal cortex, lateral septum, septofimbrial and triangular nuclei, horizontal limb of diagonal band and preoptic areas; in the anterior, mediodorsal, reuniens, centrolateral, parafascicular, paraventricular and laterodorsal thalamic nuclei, rostral reticular thalamic nucleus, and zona incerta; the lateral habenula and the lateral hypothalamus. A number of brainstem structures apparently associated with visual functions were also innervated, mainly the superior colliculus, medial pretectum, medial terminal nucleus, paramedian pontine reticular formation, inferior olive, supraoculomotor, paraabducens and supragenual regions, prepositus hypoglossi and nucleus of the posterior commissure. Also innervated were substantia nigra compacta, ventral tegmental area, interfascicular nucleus, interpeduncular nucleus, dorsal and medial raphe, pedunculopontine tegmental region, parabrachial nuclei, and nucleus of the tractus solitarius. These findings suggest the LDTg to be a highly differentiated part of the ascending "reticular activating" system, concerned not only with specific cortical and thalamic regions, especially those associated with the limbic system, but also with the basal ganglia, and visual (particularly oculomotor) mechanisms. Additional links with the habenula-interpeduncular system are discussed in this context.