Fast spiking interneurons in the CA1 area of the dorsal hippocampus were recorded from and filled with biocytin in anesthetized rats. The full extent of their dendrites and axonal arborizations as well as their calcium binding protein content were examined. Based on the spatial extent of axon collaterals, local circuit cells (basket and O- LM neurons) and long-range cells (bistratified, trilaminar, and backprojection neurons) could be distinguished. Basket cells were immunoreactive for parvalbumin and their axon collaterals were confined to the pyramidal layer. A single basket cell contacted more than 1500 pyramidal neurons and 60 other parvalbumin-positive interneurons. Commissural stimulation directly discharged basket cells, followed by an early and late IPSPs, indicating interneuronal inhibition of basket cells. The dendrites of another local circuit neuron (O-LM) were confined to stratum oriens and it had a small but high-density axonal terminal field in stratum lacunosum-moleculare. The fastest firing cell of all interneurons was a calbindin-immunoreactive bistratified neuron with axonal targets in stratum oriens and radiatum. Two neurons with their cell bodies in the alveus innervated the CA3 region (backprojection cells), in addition to rich axon collaterals in the CA1 region. The trilaminar interneuron had axon collaterals in strata radiatum, oriens and pyramidale with its dendrites confined to stratum oriens. Commissural stimulation evoked an early EPSP-IPSP-late depolarizing potential sequence in this cell. All interneurons formed symmetric synapses with their targets at the electron microscopic level. These findings indicate that interneurons with distinct axonal targets have differential functions in shaping the physiological patterns of the CA1 network.