The microheterogeneity of pituitary thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is dependent on variations in the hormone's carbohydrate moieties. In this study, changes in the pattern of heterogeneity have been assessed by chromatofocusing, which separates the isospecies on the basis of their isoelectric points (pI). Rats (n = 6 per group) were either untreated or rendered hypo- or hyperthyroid by including in the drinking water either propylthiouracil (0·05% for 8 weeks) or thyroxine (T4; 4 mg/l for 6 weeks) before they were killed at 16 weeks. On autopsy, serum TSH and total T4 were (means±s.e.m.): 2±0·3 μg TSH/l and 64±5 nmol T4/l (control); <1 μg TSH/1 and 133±6 nmol T4/l (hyperthyroid); 58±6 μg TSH/1 and 32±6 nmol T4/l (hypothyroid). The pituitaries were individually homogenized and the TSH isoforms separated by chromatofocusing over a pH range of 7–4. Fractions were assayed for TSH by radioimmunoassay. TSH from the control group was distributed into seven major peaks with pI values of (means ±s.e.m., n=6) 6·9±0·1, 6·6±0·1, 6·2±0·1, 5·8±0·1, 5·5±0·1, 5·2±0·1 and 4·8±0·1; 7±3% of the TSH had a pI of <40. Six peaks of TSH were conserved in the hypothyroid group (with pI values of 6·8±0·1, 6·5±0·1, 6·2±0·1, 5·8±0·1, 5·4±0·1 and 5·2±0·1), and 11±4% of the hormone had a pI of <40. In contrast to the other two groups, only one major peak (with a pI of 5·8±0·1) was detected in the pituitaries from the hyperthyroid group; 13 ± 5% of the TSH had a pI of <40. In the pH range of 5·5– 60, the per cent distribution of TSH was 58±15 (hyperthyroid) compared with 17 ± 3 (hypothyroid) and 22±3 (euthyroid). Above pH 6, only 25±13% of the TSH (hyperthyroid) was present compared with 46±5% (hypothyroid) and 45±5% (euthyroid). Below pH 5·5, the per cent distribution of TSH was 19±5 (hyperthyroid), 37±5 (hypothyroid) and 35±3 (euthyroid). In conclusion, both hyper- and hypothyroidism are associated with changes in the composition of pituitary TSH. This change was most marked in the hyperthyroid group, where there was a selective loss of several isoforms of TSH.