Normal adult female rat mammotrope and somatotrope subpopulations were separated on continuous Percoll density gradients according to differences in their density. Viable cells were recovered in 16 fractions. The cells from each fraction were cultured during 7 days after which period 4-h incubations were performed. rPRL secretion per cell increased towards the higher density fractions. No major difference in TRH, dopamine and somatostatin responsiveness was observed between mammotropes that were recovered in the different gradient fractions. In addition, no differences in somatostatin responsiveness between the somatotrope cells in the different gradient fractions were observed. However, somatotropes that were recovered in the highest density region of the gradient appeared to be more responsive to GHRH than the lower density somatotropes. In the various gradient fractions there were no paradoxical effects of TRH and dopamine on rGH release and of GHRH on rPRL release. Conclusions: 1. In long-term cultures there is no evidence for functionally different subpopulations of mammotropes and somatotropes, separated according to differences in their density, with regard to dopamine and TRH responsiveness and with regard to somatostatin responsiveness, respectively. 2. There is no evidence for a (mammosomatotrope?) subpopulation of cells showing paradoxical responses of PRL or GH release to GHRH and dopamine or TRH, respectively.