The effect of the somatomedin-/insulin-like growth factors IGF-I, IGF-II and N2, as well as of semi-purified SM fractions separated by isoelectric focusing derived from human Cohn IV on different growth parameters, have been studied in the Snell dwarf mouse. HPLC-pure IGF-II, N2 and IGF-I stimulate to a similar extent the sulphate incorporation into costal cartilage, the osteochondral junction and epiphyseal cartilage. After 4 weeks of treatment, increase in body length and weight as well as the weights of several organs is obtained with SM fractions, focusing at acid and neutral pH, and containing mainly IGF-II- and less than 5% IFG-I-like peptides. Fractions containing mainly IGF-I-like peptides and focusing at basic pH at the dosage used seem to be less stimulatory on most of these parameters. The rump/tail ratio and weight/length ratio is comparable to that obtained after treatment with human growth hormone (hGH). hGH induced a significant stimulation of the weight of the liver, kidneys, heart, thymus and spleen. The acid and neutral SM fractions induced growth of the liver, kidneys and spleen. The basic fractions only produced a significant weight gain in kidneys and spleen. The skinfold thickness is stimulated by the SM preparations and only slightly by hGH.