The testosterone responses to a single injection of hCG (100 i.u.) in hypophysectomized (hypox.), cryptorchid or sham-operated rats were followed over a 5-day period. In sham-operated rats, hCG induced a biphasic rise in serum testosterone, peaks being observed at 2 and 72 h. Reduced testis weights, elevated FSH and LH levels and reduced serum testosterone levels were found after 4 weeks of cryptorchidism, but hCG stimulation resulted in a normal 2 h peak in serum testosterone. However, the secondary rise at 72 h in cryptorchid rats was significantly lower than sham-operated rats. Reduced testis weight and undetectable serum FSH and LH levels together with decreased testosterone levels were found 4 weeks after hypophysectomy. Serum testosterone levels rose 2 h after hCG in comparison to hypox. controls but this peak was significantly reduced compared with sham-operated rats. The second rise in serum testosterone began on day 2, peaking on day 4 at levels comparable to that seen in shamoperated rats after hCG. The in vitro basal and hCG stimulated secretion of testosterone by cryptorchid testes was greater than that secreted by normal rat testes (518·0 ± 45·9 and 3337·6 ± 304· 1 pmol per testis per 4 h compared with 223·6 ± 24·9and 1312·9 ± 141·4 pmol per testis per 4 h for normal rat testes). In cryptorchid animals a single injection of 100 i.u. hCG resulted in a pattern of in vitro refractoriness similar to normal rats, lasting from 12 h to 2 days, during whichtestosterone secretion was reduced to near basal levels. The in vitro basal and hCG-stimulated secretion of testosteroneby hypox. rat testes was severely diminished compared with normal rat testes. The temporal pattern of in vitro secretion of testosterone from hypox. rat testes mimicked the in vivo serum testosterone pattern seen in these animals. This study demonstrates important differences in the in vivo and in vitro testosterone response to hCG after testicular damage.