The hormonal control of proline transport in pyloric ceca was studied in regard to the effects of cortisol, growth hormone (GH), epinephrine, and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX). Cortisol pellets implantted in yearling freshwater (FW) salmon for 2 weeks elevated plasma cortisol levels in six times above that of control fish. The maximal influx (Jmax) and the half-saturation constant (Kt) of proline influx were twofold greater in cortisol-treated fish than the values in controls; the apparent passive permeability coefficient (Pa) was significantly reduced in the former group. FW salmon implanted with GH for 2 weeks showed increased body weight gain and a higher Jmax of proline influx compared with that of control fish. GH treatment resulted in a higher Pa of proline influx as well as in a 30% increase in area-specific intestinal dry weight. Thus, GH and cortisol may play a regulatory role in intestinal amino acid absorption during salmon development. The in vitro effects of epinephrine and the phosphodiesterase inhibitor, IBMX, on short-circuit current (Isc) and proline influx in salmon intestine were examined. Epinephrine (10-6 M) caused a rapid increase in negative Isc (mucosa, ground). Pyloric ceca preincubated with epinephrine for 30 min showed reduced total proline influx compared with influx in paired control tissues. Epinephrine increased and IBMX decreased the Kt of proline influx; IBMX also reduced Jmax. The possible interaction between the effects of epinephrine and IBMX on ion transport and Na+-coupled proline influx are discussed.