1. Rats were fed on diets enriched with starch, sucrose, corn oil or beef tallow for 3 weeks and the activities of various enzymes in the liver were measured. 2. The mitochondrial glycerol phosphate acyltransferase activity was lower in rats fed on the starch diet than on the two high-fat diets. 3. The non-microsomal (presumably peroxisomal) dihydroxyacetone phosphate acyltransferase activity was higher in rats fed on the starch diet and corn-oil diets than in those fed on the sucrose and beef-tallow diets. Urate oxidase activity was higher in rats fed on the starch diet than in the three other groups. There were no significant differences in the activity of acyl-CoA oxidase among the groups. 4. The activity of soluble phosphatidate phosphohydrolase was not significantly different among the dietary groups. There were increases of 3.3--4.3-fold in this activity in the dietary groups 6h after injection of corticotropin. The equivalent increases for the mitochondrial glycerol phosphate acyltransferase were 1.4--1.6 fold. 5. The corticosterone responses to the corticotropin injection were not significantly different between dietary groups. However, the corticosterone response of the rats fed on the two high-fat diets was prolonged when the rats were given an acute load of fructose [Brindley, Cooling, Glenny, Burditt & McKechnie (1981) Biochem. J. 200. 275--283]. 6. Rats fed on the high-fat diets had higher concentrations of circulating cholesterol than those fed on the starch and sucrose diets. Serum triacylglycerol concentrations were lower in the rats fed on the starch diet than in the three other groups. 7. The results are discussed in terms of the relationship between diet, hormonal balance and hepatic glycerolipid metabolism.