Cells were isolated by use of collagenase, EDTA and pronase form human gastric mucosa obtained at peptic ulcer surgery (n = 61) or at Whipple's operations (n = 6). Enriched parietal cell fractions were prepared by isopycnic centrifugation with Percoll. H+ production, intracellular instrinsic factor and histamine content were maximal in the low density fraction containing 75% parietal cells and--among other nonparietal cell types--mast cells. H+ production, intrinsic factor secretion and adenylate cyclase-activity responded to histamine stimulation in a concentration dependent manner. Response was blocked by histamine H2 receptor antagonists (rantidine, famotidine). Dibutyryl cAMP and the phosphodiesterase inhibitor IMX were the most powerful stimuli whereas carbachol, hexoprenaline and pentagastrin were less effective. Prostaglandin E2 and 6-keto-PGF2 alpha occurred in the highest concentrations in the low density cell fraction. PG production increased linearly for 15 min and seemed to be influenced by the intracellular calcium level.