The mechanism by which 30% medium hyposmolarity induces PRL secretion by GH4C1 cells was compared with that induced by 100 nmol/l TRH or 30 mmol/l K+. Removing medium Ca2+, blocking Ca2+ channels with 50 μmol/l verapamil, or inhibiting calmodulin activation with 20 μmol/l trifluoperazine, 10 μmol/l chlorpromazine or 10 μmol/l pimozide almost completely blocked hyposmolarity-induced secretion. The smooth muscle relaxant, W-7, which is believed relatively specific in inhibiting the Ca2+-calmodulin interaction, depressed hyposmolarity-induced PRL secretion in a dose-dependent manner (r = −0.991, p<0.01 ). The above drugs also blocked or decreased high K+-induced secretion, but had much less effect on TRH-induced secretion. Secretion induced by TRH, hyposmolarity, or high K+ was optimal at pH 7.3-7.65 and was significantly depressed at pH 6.0 or 8.0, indicating that release of hormone induced by all 3 stimuli is due to an active cell process requiring a physiologic extracellular pH and is not produced by nonspecific cell toxicity. The data suggest hyposmolarity and high K+ may share some similarities in their mechanism of stimulating secretion, which is different from that of TRH.