The effect of recombinant transforming growth factor-β2 (rTGF-β2) on lipoprotein lipase (LPL) synthesis was studied in mesenchymal rat heart cell cultures. Addition of rTGF-β2 to culture medium containing 20% serum resulted in a time-dependent decrease in LPL activity. With 10 ng/ml a 30% fall occurred after 12 h and only 20% of enzyme activity remained after 24 h with 5 or 10 ng/ml. The minimal effective dose of rTGF-β2 was 0.1 ng/ml and a 20% decrease occurred after exposure for 24 h. Antibodies specific to TGF-β2 blocked this effect. The decrease in enzymic activity was accompanied by a decrease in enzume mass and LPL mRNA. Addition of rTGF-β2 was effective only during the first week in culture, when enzyme activity was increasing but not after 12 days when the cultures were overconfluent, and the enzyme activity was high.