Evidence exists implicating adrenergic factors in the control of intestinal epithelial cell proliferation in both normal and diseased states. In this report, attention is focussed on changes in the amine requirements of proliferating cells during the chemical induction of tumours in the colon of mouse. Cell proliferation rates were measured stathmokinetically. Tumours were induced by s.c. injection of dimethylhydrazine (DMH). Results with a series of adrenoceptor agonists and antagonists suggest that there is an alpha 2-adrenoceptor mediated excitatory effect in normal colon but an alpha 2 adrenoceptor mediated inhibitory effect in adenoma and carcinoma. Alpha 1 adrenoceptors, on the other hand, have an inhibitory effect in normal crypts and in adenomas, and an excitatory effect in carcinomas. Beta adrenoceptors have an inhibitory effect in the normal and DMH-treated crypt, and in adenomas, but not in carcinomas. In the crypt epithelium of DMH-treated mice, two regions on cell proliferation, with differing regulatory factors, could be identified. In the upper region of the carcinogen-exposed crypt is a zone where cell proliferation is stimulated by an alpha 2 adrenergic mechanism, thus resembling the basal region of the normal crypt. By contrast, in the basal region of these crypts, cell proliferation is stimulated by an alpha 1 mechanism, thus resembling a malignant tumour.