Sheets of trachea from ferret and cat were mounted in Ussing chambers and continuously short circuited. Under resting conditions, in both the cat and ferret there was little or no Cl secretion, and Na absorption accounted for most of the short-circuit current (Isc). Ouabain (10(-4) M, serosal bath) reduced Isc to zero in 30-60 min. This decline was matched by a decrease in net Na absorption. Amiloride (10(-4) M, luminal bath) caused a significant decrease in Isc and conductance (G) in both species. Bumetanide (10(-4) M, serosal bath) had negligible effects on Isc and G. In both species, isoproterenol increased Isc by stimulating Cl secretion. Methacholine induced equal amounts of Na and Cl secretion, with little change in Isc. In the cat, prostaglandins E2 and F2 alpha and bradykinin increased Isc, responses which were abolished in Cl-free medium. In open-circuited cat tissues, Na flux from the serosal to mucosal side was measured simultaneously with the secretion of nondialyzable 35S. Prostaglandins E1, E2, and F2 alpha, histamine, bradykinin, methacholine and isoproterenol all increased both Na and 35S-mucin secretion.