Abstract n-Butyrate was previously found to increase the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor binding in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes. We show here that butyrate and dexamethasone synergistically modulate the surface expression of the EGF receptors. The butyrate-induced enhancement of high-affinity EGF binding was only slight in the absence of glucocorticoid, but was strongly and dose-dependently amplified by dexamethasone. Butyrate counteracted the inhibition by insulin of the dexamethasone-induced increase in EGF binding. The results indicate that the glucocorticoid has a permissive effect on a butyrate-sensitive process that determines the surface expression of the high-affinity class of EGF receptors.