Apolipoprotein-B 48 (apoB 48) and apoB 100 expression and the editing of apoB mRNA have previously been shown to be hormonally regulated in rat liver. We have investigated the effects of hypophysectomy and replacement therapy with T4, cortisol (C), and GH in vivo on the proportion of edited apoB mRNA in rat liver and cultured rat hepatocytes as well as the synthesis and secretion of apoB 48 and apoB 100 in cultured rat hepatocytes. Hypophysectomy decreased the proportion of edited apoB mRNA in intact liver from 62% in normal rats to 29% in hypophysectomized rats. Treatment of hypophysectomized rats with T4 and C did not influence the proportion of edited apoB mRNA, whereas treatment with GH, either alone or together with T4 and C, increased the proportion of edited apoB mRNA to the levels observed in normal rats. In cultured hepatocytes isolated from normal rats, the proportion of apoB 48 (percentage of total labeled apoB) was 78% and decreased to 40% in cells isolated from hypophysectomized rats. Treatment of hypophysectomized rats with T4 and C had no effect on the proportion of apoB 48 present in isolated cells, whereas it increased to 60% after treatment with GH together with T4 and C. The proportion of apoB 48 in the medium was affected by hypophysectomy and the various hormonal treatments in a similar way to that observed in the cells. Results from in vivo labeling experiments suggested that GH alone had the capacity to increase the percentage of apoB 48 in hypophysectomized rats. On the contrary, T4 and C was needed, in addition to GH, to increase the proportion of apoB 48 in isolated hepatocytes from hypophysectomized rats. Our results suggest that this discrepancy is due to a difference between the effect of GH alone on apoB mRNA editing in the intact liver and that in isolated hepatocytes. The total secretion of apoB into the cell culture medium was not affected by hypophysectomy and hormonal treatments of the rats. In conclusion, these results indicate that GH is involved in the regulation of editing of apoB mRNA and the proportion of apoB 48 synthesized and secreted in rat liver. Thus, our observations emphasize the importance of GH as a regulator of lipoprotein metabolism.