In hepatocytes pre-labelled with [3H]glycerol, vasopressin increased by 20% the amount of radioactivity present in diacylglycerols. The effect of vasopressin was partially dependent on Ca2+. The magnitude of the increase in [3H]diacylglycerol was 5-times the sum of the radioactivity present in phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. No stimulation by vasopressin of the initial rate of incorporation of radioactivity into diacylglycerols was observed in cells incubated in the presence of 10 mM [3H]glycerol. Treatment of hepatocytes labelled with either [3H]ethanolamine or [3H]choline with vasopressin, ionophore A23187 or phospholipase C increased the amount of radioactivity present in trichloroacetic acid extracts of the cells. The effect of vasopressin was dependent on extracellular Ca2+. It is concluded that in hepatocytes vasopressin increases diacylglycerols by a process which does not principally involve the conversion of phosphoinositides to diacylglycerol or the de novo synthesis of diacylglycerol from glycerol 3-phosphate, but does involve the Ca2+-dependent conversion of phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine to diacylglycerol.