The epithelium of small excretory ducts of the pancreas was investigated in sections obtained from 33 total-pancreatectomy-specimens by means of AgNOR-silver-staining as described by Ploton , in some modification. AgNOR-staining was evaluated by automatic image analysis. Specimens were split into four groups: mucoid transformation in chronic pancreatitis (11 cases), papillary hyperplasia in chronic pancreatitis (eight cases), ductal adenocarcinoma (14 cases) and control-group of pancreas-transplants (five cases). Parameters estimated for each cell are as follows: number of intranucleolar dots, number of extranucleolar dots, total number of dots, ratio of extra- and intranucleolar dots, total dot area, mean single dot area, nuclear area, ratio of total dot- and nuclear area, dot-density. Ratio of extra- and intranucleolar dots, ratio of total dot- and nuclear area as well as dot-density allowed differentiation between papillary hyperplasia in chronic pancreatitis, grade III, and ductal adenocarcinoma, grade I. A correlation was found between the number of extranucleolar dots and proliferative activity as well as between the number of intranucleolar dots and protein-synthesis activity of epithelial cells of small excretory ducts of the pancreas.