Freeze-dried pancreas sections from obese hyperglycemic mice were subjected to proton bombardment and the elemental contents in the ..beta.. cells and the exocrine part were obtained from the characteristic X-rays emitted. Quantitative data were provided for 18 different elements. The mole ratio between K and Na exceeded 10, implying that neither the sample preparation nor the irradiation had induced significant diffuse changes. With the demonstration of this high K/Na ratio it seems likely that also the ..beta.. cells are equipped with an efficient Na/sup +//K/sup +/ pump. The ..beta.. cells contained about 70 mmoles Cl per litre cell water. Observed amounts of Ca and Mg were equivalent to those previously recorded by electrothermal atomic absorption spectroscopy. The significant role of Zn for the storage of insulin was emphasized by the demonstration of 3 times as much of this element in the ..beta.. cells as compared with the exocrine pancreas. In addition, the sensitivity of the proton microprobe enabled measurements of various trace elements such as Rb, Cr, Cu, Al and Pb not previously demonstrated in the pancreatic ..beta.. cells.