The absorption and brain penetration of [3H]pyroglutamate was determined after oral administration to rats. Gas-liquid chromatography of the methylated derivatives followed by mass fragmentometry was used to analyse the plasma and brain levels of pyroglutamate. [3H]Pyroglutamate was separated from other labelled compounds by thin layer chromatography. The administration of 500 mg kg-1 [3H]pyroglutamate resulted in a 30-fold increase in plasma levels and a doubling in the brain levels. Over 60% of the cerebral radioactivity was present as [3H]pyroglutamate demonstrating that pyroglutamate is not only well absorbed but also penetrates in significant amounts into the brain.