Abstract The [ 14C]2-deoxyglucose method was used to investigate the role of the ventrolateral geniculate and raphe nuclei in the control of the metabolism of the suprachiasmatic nuclei in adult female Wistar rats anaesthetized with alphaxalone. Three to seven days before the [ 14C]2-deoxyglucose studies a stimulating electrode was implanted or a lesion was made in the ventrolateral geniculate nucleus, or the ascending projection from the raphe nuclei was severed. Stimulation of the ventrolateral geniculate nucleus (biphasic rectangular pulses, 30 s on and 30 s off, 50 Hz, 500 μ A pulse amplitude and 1 ms pulse duration) led to a significant increase in the relative metabolic activity of the ipsilateral suprachiasmatic nucleus and a smaller increase in the relative metabolic activity of the contralateral suprachiasmatic nucleus. The stimulus also increased significantly the relative metabolic activities of mainly the ipsilateral hypothalamus, midbrain central gray and reticular formation, all of which are too remote from the ventrolateral geniculate nucleus to be affected by current spread. In animals in which the ventrolateral geniculate nucleus had been lesioned, the relative metabolic activity of the suprachiasmatic nuclei was not significantly different from normal. In animals in which the ascending projection from the raphe nuclei had been severed, there was a slight, though significant increase in the relative metabolic activity of the suprachiasmatic nucleus of one side. These results, together with the effects of stimulating the suprachiasmatic nuclei [R. C. Maxwell and G. Fink, Neuroscience 23, 241–263 (1987)], show that the connections between the ventrolateral geniculate, raphe nuclei and suprachiasmatic nuclei are “metabolically functional”, but that the integrity of the ventrolateral geniculate nucleus is not essential for maintaining the relative metabolic activity of the suprachiasmatic nuclei. The raphe nuclei may reduce the relative metabolic activity of the suprachiasmatic nucleus.