The organization of lateral septal connections has been re-examined with respect to its newly defined subdivisions, using anterograde (PHAL) and retrograde (fluorogold) axonal tracer methods. The results confirm that progressively more ventral transverse bands in the hippocampus (defined by the orientation of the trisynaptic circuit) innervate progressively more ventral, transversely oriented sheets in the lateral septum. In addition, hippocampal field CA3 projects selectively to the caudal part of the lateral septal nucleus, which occupies topologically lateral regions of the transverse sheets, whereas field CA1 and the subiculum project selectively to the rostral and ventral parts of the lateral septal nucleus, which occupy topologically medial regions of the transverse sheets. Finally, the evidence suggests that progressively more ventral hippocampal bands innervate progressively thicker lateral septal sheets. In contrast, ascending inputs to the lateral septum appear to define at least 20 vertically oriented bands or subdivisions arranged orthogonal to the hippocampal input (Risold, P.Y. and Swanson, L.W., Chemoarchitecture of the rat lateral septal nucleus, Brain Res. Rev., 24 (1997) 91-113). Hypothalamic nuclei forming parts of behavior-specific subsystems share bidirectional connections with specific subdivisions of the lateral septal nucleus (especially the rostral part), suggesting that specific domains in the hippocampus may influence specific hypothalamic behavioral systems. In contrast, the caudal part of the lateral septal nucleus projects to the lateral hypothalamus and to the supramammillary nucleus, which projects back to the hippocampus and receives its major inputs from brainstem cell groups thought to regulate behavioral state. The neural system mediating defensive behavior shows these features rather clearly, and what is known about its organization is discussed in some detail.