125I-labelled murine epidermal growth factor (EGF) was injected or infused into conscious ewes through the jugular vein. Its disappearance from the circulation and the pattern of its distribution in other body tissues and compartments were observed. Single bolus injections of 125I-labelled EGF resulted in a transient peak of radioactive EGF in the circulation which occurred within 1 min of the injection. This was followed by a very rapid fall in radioactivity in the plasma (t 1/2 ~ 1 min) and the gradual appearance of 125I-labelled EGF in the urine. Immunoprecipitable 125I-labelled EGF could be detected in urine within 5 min of the start of the experiment. 125I-labelled EGF accumulated in the urine for several hours following the injection, although with increasing time a substantial amount of non-immunoprecipitable iodide was also found. The rate of disappearance of the 125I-labelled EGF from the plasma of the ewe was found to be faster than the rate of disappearance of free [125I]iodide that had been injected into the ewe. 125I-labelled EGF was also administered by a continuous infusion following an initial bolus injection. This again resulted in a rapid initial fall in radioactivity in blood, followed by a slow rise throughout the period of the infusion. When the infusion was stopped, there was a 15-min period of rapid readjustment, after which the radioactivity in the blood fell at a much slower rate (t 1/2 ~ 70 min) than was seen initially. Again, intact 125I-labelled EGF was transferred to urine throughout the experiment. At autopsy, 125I-labelled EGF was increased in bile, liver, thyroid and kidney. Although most of the 125I found in the thyroid was free iodide, some EGF-like material was also present. There was also EGF-like material found in both the kidney cortex and the kidney medulla. These results indicate that complex multi-compartment pathways for the uptake, distribution and clearance of 125I-labelled EGF exist in the sheep.