The healing of acetic acid-induced gastric and duodenal ulcers was examined together with biochemical indices of growth in gastric and duodenal mucosa in rats with intact or removed salivary glands after treatment with epidermal growth factor (EGF) or somatostatin, or both. After the extirpation of salivary glands, the healing rate of gastric and duodenal ulcerations was delayed and gastric content of immunoreactive EGF was reduced. This was accompanied by a significant decrease in the contents of deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid in the gastric and duodenal mucosa. Repeated administration of EGF either subcutaneously or orally accelerated the healing of gastroduodenal ulcers in rats with intact salivary glands and completely reversed the delay in ulcer healing in sialoadenectomized animals. These effects were also accompanied by a significant increase in the growth parameters of gastric and duodenal mucosa. Administration of somatostatin, which prevented the growth-promoting action of subcutaneous EGF, resulted in a significant decrease in the EGF-stimulated healing of gastric and duodenal ulcerations in both intact and sialoadenectomized rats. Our findings suggest that cell proliferation is an important factor in healing of gastric and duodenal ulcerations and that EGF plays an important role in ulcer healing due to its mitogenic action.