Structural changes in the gallbladder epithelial cells of the mouse were studied following in vivo and in vitro stimulation of the gallbladder with the gastrointestinal hormone cholecystokinin-pancreozymin (CCK-PZ). Signs of increased secretory activity were observed within the first 2-3 min after hormone administration. At the ultrastructural level, best visualized with the PA-CrA[periodic acid-chromic acid] technique, granule discharge was observed, as was an overall increase in size of the granules. After prolonged in vitro incubation or repeated in vivo stimulation, there was an almost total depletion of secretory granules. This phenomenon is accompanied by an enhanced uptake of extracellular thorium dioxide by endocytotic vesicles at the apical cell surface. An exocytosis-endocytosis coupling mechanism may be important for membrane conservation in the gallbladder epithelial cells. The hormone CCK-PZ stimulates the secretion of glycoproteins from the mouse gallbladder epithelium.