The type 3 serotonin receptor (5-HT3R) is a ligand-gated ion channel whose presence in the CNS has been established by radioligand binding, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemical analysis. To analyze further the role of the 5-HT3R in the CNS, we used in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry to determine that 5-HT3R-expressing neurons are mainly GABA-containing cells in the rat telencephalon. We determined that 5-HT3R/GABA-containing neurons do not exhibit somatostatin immunoreactivity but often contain cholecystokinin (CCK) immunoreactivity. 5-HT3R-expressing cells with CCK immunoreactivity were observed in the neocortex, olfactory cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala. The 5-HT3R/CCK interneurons represent between 35 and 66% of the total population of CCK-containing cells in the neocortex. Further characterization of the 5-HT3R/GABAergic neurons was based on their calcium-binding protein immunoreactivity and showed that these neurons lack parvalbumin (PV) and represent a subpopulation of calbindin (CB)-containing interneurons that were preferentially present in the CA1-CA3 subfield of the hippocampus. Although some 5-HT3R/GABAergic neurons with calretinin (CR) were found in the neocortex, olfactory cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala, these neurons were more often present in the agranular insular and piriform cortices. We conclude that the neuronal expression of the 5-HT3R is selective within the GABA neuron population in the rat telencephalon. These 5-HT3R-expressing interneurons might contain CCK, CB, and CR. We suggest that serotonin through the 5-HT3R may regulate GABA and CCK neurotransmission in the telencephalon.