The effects of several hormones on transepithelial Pi transport were determined in primary monolayer cultures of winter flounder proximal tubule epithelium in Ussing chambers. Salmon stanniocalcin (STC) had a dose-dependent stimulatory effect on net Pi reabsorption within the normal plasma hormone concentration range, 12.5-50 ng/ml (0.25-1.0 nM). Net Pi transport was significantly altered by STC (200 ng/ml) within 30 min and progressively increased from slight net secretion (0.26 +/- 0.744 nmol.cm-2.h-1) in untreated controls to net reabsorption (1.96 +/- 0.729 nmol.cm-2.h-1) after 3 h. The STC effect was mimicked by 10 microM forskolin, whereas 10 microM H-89, a highly specific protein kinase A inhibitor, significantly decreased both STC- and forskolin-induced Pi reabsorption. The release of adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) was increased more than twofold after a 1-h exposure to STC. This hormone had no effect on transepithelial Ca2+ transport. The results indicate that STC directly stimulates net renal Pi reabsorption by a cAMP-dependent pathway. In addition to STC, bovine parathyroid hormone (100 nM) and ovine prolactin (100 nM) significantly increased net Pi reabsorptive flux.