Pregnenolone synthesis was estimated in whole adrenal homogenates incubated in the presence of cyanoketone (2alpha-cyano-4,4,17alpha-trimethyl-androst-5-en-17beta-ol-3-one). The yield of pregnenolone depended on the type of incubation medium employed. Both Ca++ and bovine serum albumin (BSA) markedly stimulated the rate of pregnenolone synthesis as did NADPH or NADPH generating system. Aminoglutethimide added in vitro inhibited cholesterol sidechain cleavage activity. Ether stress in vivo stimulated pregnenolone synthesis in vitro, and hypophysectomy of 24 hours duration resulted in a decrease. Cortisone administration for 8 days reduced the formation of pregnenolone by rat adrenal homogenates, an effect prevented by concomitant treatment with ACTH. Similarly, hypophysectomy of 8 days duration resulted in a marked diminution of pregnenolone synthesis and ACTH replacement reversed this effect. Changes in pregnenolone synthesis were paralleled by changes in corticosterone and total steroid production.