Summary. Blood and muscle samples (percutaneous biopsy of m. quadriceps femoris) were taken before exercise and after 10 and 20 min of exercise in four healthy subjects working on a bicycle ergometer with a load of 70% of VO2 max. Free amino acids were determined in plasma and muscle and the intracellular concentration of each amino acid was calculated by the chloride method. The plasma concentration of alanine, arginine and glutamine increased during exercise. In muscle there was an increase in glutamine and alanine concentration and a decrease in glutamate concentration at 10 min of exercise; after 20 min of exercise the increase in alanine and glutamine concentrations was less marked, but the decrease in glutamate concentration was of a similar magnitude. The results demonstrate that glutamate is a quantatively important ammonia acceptor during heavy exercise.