Neither analysis of the urinary catecholamine metabolites vanillymandelic acid and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylglycol nor blood pressure measurements allowed the detection of adrenal medullary tumors or hyperplasia in 115 aged male Wistar rats (70 rats, 24 months of age and 45 rats, 30 months of age). Histochemical examination of the adrenal glands demonstrated that the 55 hyperplastic and 25 neoplastic lesions of the medulla usually had little or no chromaffinity. Chromaffinity was found comparable to normal medulla in only three tumors examined histochemically. Of these tumors, two were partially and one completely chromaffin-positive, but all three were small and did not result in elevated blood pressure or catecholamine metabolite excretion values. These observations indicate that excessive catecholamine synthesis and release is not a feature of adrenomedullary tumors and hyperplasia occurring spontaneously in aged male Wistar rats.