When primary cultures of fetal human liver cells established on type I collagen gels were compared to sister cultures developed on tissue culture plastic, the cells in contact with type I collagen secreted albumin at a higher rate than those without contact. The albumin secretion was dependent on the presence of hydrocortisone (HC) in the medium. Also, α-fetoprotein (AFP), of which the level decreased gradually and became undetectable after 6 d regardless of the presence or absence of HC in the cells cultured on plastic, was maintained for longer periods of time by plating the cells on type I collagen gels in the presence of HC. Different secretion rates of albumin and AFP were observed after Day 13 and Day 16, respectively, between cells maintained on type I collagen gels and those on film plastic. The cells secreted larger amounts of both albumin and AFP in plates coated with type IV or I collagens than with fibronectin after Day 10. The cells cultured on type I collagen gels were cuboidal in shape, whereas those on plastic were flattened in cultures with HC. These data indicate that the secretion of human albumin and AFP is facilitated by synergies between HC and collagenous substrata.