Heat shock proteins (HSPs) were documented for the first time in both somatic extracts and excretory/secretory (ES) products of the infective-stage larvae of Trichinella spiralis and T. pseudospiralis. Larvae recovered from muscles of infected mice were heat shocked at 37, 40, 43 and 45 degrees C in RPMI 1640 medium containing L(-)[35S]methionine. Somatic extracts and ES products of heat-shocked worms were then analysed by SDS-PAGE, autoradiography and laser densitometry. Prominent bands of HSPs were observed at 43 degrees C which is the optimal heat shock temperature. The major HSPs in somatic extracts of T. spiralis were 20, 47, 50, 70, 80 and 86 kDa. When the temperature was increased from 37 to 43 degrees C, the greatest increase in absorbance was observed in HSPs 70 and 86. In vitro translation of mRNA in a nuclease-treated rabbit reticulocyte lysate system showed an increase in the synthesis of the 80 kDa protein. This suggests that the production of HSP 80 is regulated at the transcriptional level. The major HSPs in the ES products were 11, 45, 53 and 64 kDa. In T. pseudospiralis, the major HSPs in the somatic extracts were 20, 26, 31, 50, 53, 70, 80 and 86 kDa, and in the ES products, 11, 35, 37, 41 and 64 kDa.