Thyrotrophin releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test with 200 μg iv was performed in 35 patients with atoxic sporadic goitre. In 23 patients with diffuse goitre 7 showed a lack of increase in serum thyrotrophin (TSH) at a significantly increased frequency compared to controls (P = 0.0028). In 4 patients with solitary nodules 2 showed no significant response to TRH (negative), while 3 of the 8 patients with multinodular goitres had negative TRH test. Only 6 of the 12 TRH negative patients also had non-suppressible 131I uptake following T3. No significant difference in age and thyroid parameters was found between the TRH negative and TRH positive patients. In 7 TRH negative patients the test was repeated with 400 μg TRH but all remained negative. Five of these patients were given TRH perorally 80 mg daily for 2 weeks resulting in a significant increase in serum T4 and T3. No detectable increase in TSH was found. The response to iv bovine TSH in 4 TRH negative patients was found to be normal, suggesting that there was normal thyroid sensitivity to TSH. Our findings suggest that patients with TRH negative atoxic goitre can release biological active TSH following prolonged TRH stimulation. The high frequency of a negative standard TRH test in atoxic goitre seems to diminish the diagnostic value of the standard TRH test.