The effects of aging upon pancreatic digestive enzymes were studied in 27- and 3-month-old Fischer 344 rats. Mean pancreatic weight, protein and DNA concentration and content, and protein-DNA ratios did not differ in the two groups of animals. Pancreatic amylase concentration was reduced by 41% and lipase concentration was increased by 29% in the aging animals, whereas, trypsinogen concentrations did not differ. Young and aging rats were fed diets enriched with fat (72%) or sucrose (75%) for seven days to define whether the different enzyme contents were intrinsic to the aging process or adaptable. In young, but not in aging rats, lipase concentration increased 25% during high fat compared to high sucrose diet feeding. High starch diet feeding induced a 26% increase in amylase in young rats but not in the old. Trypsinogen concentration was unaffected by dietary manipulation. Jejunal enteropeptidase concentration was modestly reduced in the aging rat. Postprandial luminal concentrations of trypsin and amylase did not differ in the two groups. Thus, aging may induce modest changes in pancreatic digestive enzymes and in jejunal enteropeptidase which are unlikely to be physiologically important. However, the pancreas of aging rats does not adapt to changes in dietary intake as well as young rats.