The suitability of an isolated lung, perfused under carefully monitored conditions, for the study of the biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycans was examined for the rat lung using either [35S]-sulfate or [6-3H]glucosamine. Metabolic and electron-microscopic studies after 3 h of perfusion showed that under the conditions of this study the isolated lung showed no anatomical or metabolic derangements. All glycosaminoglycans normally synthesized in the intact lung were identified. The predominant glycosaminoglycan was heparan sulfate (40% of total). Approximately 14% of the glucosamine incorporated into the glycosaminoglycans was found in hyaluronic acid. Less than 5% of either label was in heparin. The remainder of the synthesized glycosaminoglycans, with the exception of 10% which could not be identified, consisted of the chondroitin sulfates and dermatan sulfate. The relative proportions of the newly synthesized glycosaminoglycans, including the low amounts of heparin, are similar to those found in isolation of endogenous lung glycosaminoglycans. The isolated perfused rat lung appears to be a useful model for the study of glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis by the intact lung.