We have examined the incorporation and metabolism of [14C] stearic acid within the total lipids of HTC rat-hepatoma cells in suspension culture in presence and in absence of steroidal hormone stimulation. Both, glucocorticoids (dexamethasone, cortisol and corticosterone) and mineralocorticoids (deoxycorticosterone and aldosterone) as well as the estrogen beta-estradiol and the androgen testosterone enhanced the extent of delta 9 desaturation to oleic acid of the saturated precursors, whereas only the two mineralocorticoids affected the incorporation rate of the exogenous acid into total cellular lipids, thus promoting a little stimulation. Furthermore, all the hormones tested increased the radiolabelling of the total cellular phospholipids except deoxycorticosterone and testosterone, the former having no effect and the latter exerting a moderate inhibition. On the other hand, the incorporation of 14C into neutral lipids was stimulated by testosterone, in contrast to the inhibition of this parameter observed exclusively with either the mineralocorticoids or the estrogen. Within the phospholipid subclasses, the radiolabelling of phosphatidylcholine was augmented by means of all the steroids tested save deoxycorticosterone and testosterone, whereas phosphatidylethanolamine exhibited a decrease only in the presence of testosterone. In a similar fashion, within the neutral lipids, the predominating triglyceride fraction was preferentially labelled--at the expense of other subclasses of lesser abundance--upon treatment with the steroids except aldosterone, which exerted no effect. The results obtained were correlated with those changes observed in the mass distribution of the different lipid subclasses either with or without prior hormonal stimulation.