When a segment of small intestine is transplanted to the external abdominal wall in rats adaptive changes occur in the exposed mucosa. These probably represent an extreme example of a physiological response to one type of trophic influence--the effect of mechanical trauma. The nature of the changes has been studied at 7 weeks after externalization using simple morphometry and a number of cytokinetic techniques (thymidine labelling, vincristine-induced metaphase arrest and the fraction-of-labelled-mitoses method), and comparisons drawn with the normal ileum. The exteriorized mucosa showed marked villus atrophy and hyperplasia of the crypts to three times normal size as a result of increases both in crypt length and crypt circumference. Neither metaplastic nor dysplastic epithelial abnormalities were observed. Crypt-cell production rate doubled in the hyperplastic crypts due to an increase in the size of the proliferation zone within the crypt, and the distribution of proliferating cells within the crypt changed. But cell cycle times were prolonged and more maturing cells were retained in the hyperplastic crypts. The potential usefulness of this model, particularly in carcinogenicity studies is considered.