The contribution of pulmonary and hind limb circulation to the clearance of exogenous catecholamines was analyzed quantitatively. During infusion of clinical doses of norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine in dogs, the plasma level of catecholamine and the plasma flow were measured simultaneously. Percentage of contribution was calculated from the following equation; transorgan difference of plasma catecholamine (nanograms per milliliter) X plasma flow (milliliters per minute) X 100/dose (nanograms per minute). This value means the percentage of the amount of catecholamine cleared by an organ to the amount of catecholamine administered into the body. Small but significant transpulmonary gradients of plasma levels of norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine and large translimb gradients of plasma levels of these catecholamines were observed. The plasma flow of pulmonary circulation was increased by infusion of epinephrine and dopamine, whereas it remained unchanged by infusion of norepinephrine. The plasma flow of hind limb circulation showed no significant change by infusion of catecholamines. The calculated contribution values indicate that pulmonary circulation clears 35.7% of norepinephrine (at 0.2 ng X kg-1 X min-1), 27.1% of epinephrine (0.2 ng X kg-1 X min-1) and 21.5% of dopamine (10 micrograms X kg-1 X min-1) administered exogenously, and that the corresponding figures for hind limb circulation are 8.2, 7.8 and 4.5%.