We have used the tritiated water method to quantitate the effects of thyroid hormone on lipogenesis in the rat and then determined the contribution of this process to thyroid hormone-induced thermogenesis. After thyroid hormone administration to hypothyroid animals, fatty acid synthesis rose after a lag time of 12-16 h and reached a plateau after 4-5 days. This is consistent with the kinetics of an increase in oxygen consumption measured by others in similar animals. A diurnal variation was maintained in all thyroid states, with the peak value in the middle of the dark period being 3-fold higher than the nadir. Fatty acid synthesis in the livers of hyperthyroid animals was 3- to 4-fold higher than that in euthyroid rats, which, in turn, was 3- to 5-fold higher than the rate observed in hypothyroid rats. Slightly smaller but similar fold increases were measured in epididymal fat. A stimulation of fatty acid synthesis by thyroid hormone was also measured in the rest of the carcass, with hyperthyroid rates being twice those in hypothyroid animals. The contribution of the liver was much greater in hyperthyroid rats (34% of total fatty acid synthesis) than in hypothyroid animals (5%). The energy costs of this synthesis were calculated and compared to published values for total oxygen consumption in different thyroid states. Thus, 6-10% of the total increment in oxygen consumption between hyperthyroid and hypothyroid animals could be attributed to lipogenesis, depending on which published figures were used. About 3% of this increment was due to the liver alone.