Expression of the c-myc and H-ras oncogenes, and of several genes specifically expressed in adult rat pancreas was investigated by monitoring changes in corresponding mRNA concentrations, by dot-blot hybridization, during the early phase of regeneration following subtotal pancreatectomy. The oncogenes c-myc and H-ras were overexpressed after 12–24 and 48 h, respectively, then returned to basal levels. The concentrations of mRNAs encoding amylase, chymotrypsinogen B, and trypsinogen I decreased during the regeneration time. By contrast, proinsulin I mRNA concentration was increased at 12–48 h after surgical resection, and actin mRNA concentration was increased at 12–48 h after surgical resection, and actin mRNA concentration was increased at 12 h after subtotal pancreatectomy and remained elevated thereafter. We concluded that regeneration after subtotal pancreatectomy is accompanied by repression of certain genes that are expressed in differentiated pancreatic tissue, and that derepression of other genes may be necessary for starting and/or maintaining the process of pancreatic regeneration.