The presence and distribution of S100 protein (alpha and beta subunits), cytokeratin polypeptides, glial fibrillary acidic protein, neurofilaments, vimentin, neuron specific enolase, synaptophysin, HLA class II DR antigen, and pituitary hormones (prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone and human chorionic gonadotrophin) in stellate cells were studied immunohistochemically in four normal canine pituitary glands, five canine pituitary adenomas, two canine pituitary carcinomas and two equine pituitary adenomas (with surrounding normal glandular tissue). Stellate cells of the pars distalis and pars intermedia of canine and equine adenohypophyses showed a strong reaction with antibodies against S100 protein subunits alpha and beta. They also reacted with antibody against high and low molecular weight cytokeratins, but not with those against other intermediate filament proteins, neuroendocrine markers, the HLA-class II DR antigen or the pituitary hormones. Other populations of cells expressing both subunits of the S100 protein were polygonal cells of the pars distalis of the adenohypophysis (horse) and marginal epithelial cells of the pars intermedia of the adenohypophysis (dog and horse). Some pituitary tumours had S100-immunoreactive cells with a distribution of alpha and beta subunits that differed between the two species. Some canine tumours (one adenoma and one carcinoma) expressed only the alpha subunit, but both of the equine adenomas expressed alpha and beta protein subunits. Some of the S100-immunoreactive tumour cells reacted with RCK-102 (cytokeratins 5+8) antibody in the dog but not in the horse. The results suggested that canine and equine stellate cells of the adenohypophysis are more closely related to epithelial than to glial cells, as is the case in cattle, sheep and goats but not human beings or mice. No subpopulation of cells of bone marrow origin could be identified among canine stellate cells, as they lack MHC class II antigen. The results also suggested that the presence of S100-immunoreactive cells is more striking in canine and equine tumours than in human tumours.