In order to confirm the presence of immunoreactive insulin (IRI) in the serum of postmetamorphic Xenopus laevis, radioimmunoassay (RIA) methods were used. The concentration of hormone found in samples of blood serum taken from nonanaesthetized intact male and female animals by the guillotine method was 10.46 +/- 0.76 microU/ml. Significantly higher IRI concentrations were found in our intact animals anaesthetized in MS 222 at pH 3.5 (21.9 microU/ml) compared with intact controls anaesthetized in MS 222 adjusted to pH 7.0 (14.4 microU/ml). During the wound-healing stage subsequent to forelimb amputation in the experimental cases (0 hours to 3 days) anaesthetized in MS 222 pH 7.0, there were intervals of significantly elevated serum IRI followed by a period of decreased IRI concentration compared with the levels in anaesthetized (MS 222 pH 7.0) and nonanaesthetized intact controls. These fluctuations were due, presumably, to stress caused by amputational injury and/or anaesthetic. Serum IRI increased steadily from 3 to 14 days postamputation then remained stable for the balance of the regeneration period (28 days) compared with nonanesthetized intact controls. A positive correlation was found between immunoreactive insulin and glucose levels in the serum of our animals. However, no correlation exists between serum IRI levels and serum osmolality in the data.