The effect of tri-iodothyronine (T3) on protein turnover was studied using primary cultures of rat hepatocytes. Protein synthesis was significantly stimulated in cells cultured for 6 days in the presence of T3 (1 mumol/l). Protein secretion into the culture medium was not affected by the hormone. Breakdown of long-lived proteins, the bulk of cellular proteins which are preferentially degraded through the autophagic lysosomal pathway, was significantly stimulated by the hormone. It is concluded that T3 elicits a general stimulation of protein turnover in cultured hepatocytes.