Lungs from fetal guinea pigs (54-67 days of gestation) were supported in vitro, and lung liquid secretion rates were measured by a dye-dilution technique. The average secretion rate in the first hour was 2.14 +/- 0.08 (SE) mL x kg-1 body weight.h-1 (0.21 +/- 0.01 mL/h) (n = 450); this was comparable to intact preparations. In an independent study of 30 lungs, secretion continued unchanged for 3 h, with no significant change in fluid composition. Between 54 days and term, production appeared to fall in terms of millilitres per kilogram per hour. The following agents were placed in the supporting saline during the middle hour of incubation. (i) Sodium iodoacetate: at 10(-4) M this produced a fall in secretion (fall, succeeding hours; 55.4 +/- 23.0 and 64.9 +/- 17.5%; n = 6); at 10(-3) M it stopped secretion (fall, succeeding hours; 87.2 +/- 10.3 and 100%, n = 6). (ii) Ouabain: at 10(-5) M there was no change in production (n = 6); at 10(-4) M, four preparations were unaffected, two reduced production. (iii) Epinephrine (10(-7) M) produced a significant fall in production in all cases (n = 6); in four preparations secretion reduced (average fall, 64.4 +/- 10.8%); in two preparations there was reabsorption (average rate, -1.03 mL.kg-1.h-1). This extends the effect of epinephrine to the guinea pig, and suggests that the in vitro preparation is a useful model for studies of the fetal lung.