31P-NMR spectra of regenerating rat liver in vivo show increases in resonance intensities in the phosphomonoester (PME) region and decreases in the phosphodiester (PDE) region as early as 12 h post partial hepatectomy, which return to normal by 8 days. The compounds primarily responsible for these changes have been identified in perchloric acid extracts as the phosphomonoester phosphoethanolamine and the phosphodiester glycerophosphoethanolamine (GPE), indicating altered phosphatidylethanolamine metabolism. A corresponding increase in diacylglycerol (DAG) levels during regeneration indicates a possible role for a phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase C in cellular proliferation. These results suggest that changes in phospholipid metabolites previously associated with neoplastic tissue can also be induced by normal tissue undergoing rapid cellular proliferation. The spectral changes observed in the regenerating rat liver are similar to changes seen in spectra from the livers of human patients in several disease states, indicating that 31P-NMR may allow non-invasive study of cell turnover in liver disease.