We have recently shown that adenosine triphosphate (ATP), bradykinin and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (THR) increase the ([Ca2+]i) of human thyrocytes in primary culture. We show here that these agents also stimulate the generation of [3H]-inositol monophosphate (IP1), inositol bisphosphate (IP2) and inositol trisphosphate (IP3). The stimulation of IP3 generation followed two distinct kinetics: it was sustained when the cells were triggered with ATP and transient when the response was elicited by TRH or bradykinin. In addition, we have shown that under the appropriate experimental conditions, high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations were also able to stimulate human thyrocyte IP1, IP2 and IP3 accumulation and to increase their [Ca2+]i. These data suggest that ATP, bradykinin, TRH and high TSH concentrations activate the Ca(2+)-phosphatidylinositol cascade of human thyrocytes. Since this cascade plays a crucial role in the control of protein iodination, ATP, TRH and bradykinin could be important regulators of thyroid hormone synthesis in human thyrocytes.