The labelled steroid hormones [3H]hydrocortisone and [14C]testosterone, being injected into the gray matter of the rat spinal cord L5-L6 segments, were shown to be transported at a high velocity along the ventral (anterograde) and dorsal (retrograde) root fibres. The maximum velocity of axonal transport along the ventral and dorsal roots in adult rats was, on average, 3006 +/- 101 and 3028 +/- 48 mm/day for [3H]hydrocortisone and 4594 +/- 186 and 5185 +/- 485 mm/day for [14C]testosterone, respectively. In old rats, axonal transport of steroid hormones was markedly slower. Its maximum velocity along the ventral and dorsal roots averaged to 756 +/- 64 and 738 +/- 48 mm/day for [3H]hydrocortisone and 624 +/- 54 and 608 +/- 80 mm/day for [14C]testosterone, respectively. In old rats the amount of labelled hydrocortisone incorporated into the ventral root fibres was sharply reduced (by more than an order of the value) as compared to that in adult animals. At the same time, the intensity of the labelled testosterone incorporation into the ventral root fibres did not demonstrate any significant age-related difference. The injection of low doses of steroid hormones (from less than one microgram to a few micrograms) into the lumbar spinal cord resulted in a significant hyperpolarization several hours later first of the gastrocnemius and then of deltoideus muscle fibres. In old rats, such a hyperpolarization occurred much later. It is suggested that axonal transport of steroid hormones is one of the mechanisms responsible for the effects of hormones on the tissues, which undergoes considerable changes with ageing.