Liver regeneration is significantly impaired in rats with both α-adrenergic hepatic denervation and hereditary vasopressin deficiency. This may implicate a direct role for these agonists in the process of compensatory hyperplasia. The mitogenic capacities of norepinephrine, vasopressin and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), either alone or in combination were investigated by [3H]thymidine incorporation into hepatocyte cultures prepared from normal and regenerating rat livers. The results show that normal hepatocytes incorporate less [3H]thymidine in response to HGF than do regenerating hepatocytes. In addition, physiological concentrations of vasopressin cause a synergistic stimulation of [3H]thymidine uptake in rat liver cells in the presence of HGF.