The incorporation of (/sup 3/H)thymidine by rabbit chondrocytes in vitro has been developed as a sensitive assay for plasma somatomedin. A concentration of normal plasma of 2.5% enhanced (/sup 3/H)thymidine incorporation by 5- to 20-fold compared with basal levels in the absence of plasma. The mean potency of plasma from normal adult men was 0.96 +-0.1 u./ml (mean +- S.D.) and from acromegalic patients 1.9 +- 0.4 u./ml. The apparent potency of hypopituitary plasma alone increased on heating which suggested the presence of heat-labile inhibitors of somatomedin activity. The potency of heated hypopituitary plasma (0.6 +- 0.09 u./ml) remained significantly lower (P < 0.01) than normal plasma. Human growth hormone (0.1 to 20 ..mu..u/ml), bovine growth hormone (0.5 to 20 ..mu..u/ml), insulin (0.5 to 5 ..mu..u/ml) and glucose (0.3 to 2 mmol/l) had no direct effect on the incorporation of (/sup 3/H)thymidine. Chondrocytes which had been previously stored frozen also showed a response to plasma somatomedin.