Abstract The lipolytic activities of porcine pituitary fractions and purified growth hormone (GH) from human (h), porcine (p), ovine (o) and rabbit (Rb) origin as well as ovine placental lactogen (oPL), were compared to that of ACTH on rabbit adipocytes. All the GH preparations and oPL were equivalent in inhibiting the binding of labelled oGH to liver plasma membranes from pregnant rabbits. ACTH, and to a lesser extent porcine pituitary fractions and hGH, stimulated free fatty acid production by isolated adipocytes. The sensitivity of the adipocytes to these factors was increased when adenosine deaminase was added to the incubation medium. But, RbGH, pGH, oGH and oPL had no effect. We conclude that GH is not directly involved in the control of lipolysis in rabbit adipocytes and that the effect of hGH is rather due to a contamination of this preparation by other pituitary factors.