Substances can enter the brain either directly across the blood-brain barrier or indirectly across the choroid plexuses and arachnoid membrane (blood-CSF barrier) into the CSF and then by diffusion into the brain. Earlier studies have demonstrated a saturable thymidine uptake across the blood-CSF barrier, but not across the blood-brain barrier. In this study transport of [3H]thymidine across both barriers was measured in vivo by means of a bilateral vascular brain perfusion technique in the anaesthetised guinea-pig. This method allows simultaneous and quantitative measurement of slowly penetrating solutes into both brain and CSF, under controlled conditions of arterial inflow. The results of the present study carried out over perfusion periods of up to 30 min indicated a progressive uptake of [3H]thymidine into brain and CSF, which was found to be significantly greater than the transport of D-[14C]mannitol (a plasma space marker). Furthermore, the addition of 1 mM unlabelled thymidine in the perfusate caused saturation of [3H]thymidine uptake into both brain and CSF. In conclusion, these findings suggest that thymidine can cross both the blood-brain and blood-CSF barriers in the guinea-pig by carrier-mediated transport systems.