1. Female Wistar rats (5 and 11 weeks old) were either left intact or ovariectomized. Animals of each age- and treatment-group were either ad lib.-fed or undernourished for 4 weeks.
2. The bodies of all animals were analysed for protein and fat and the weights, lipid synthesis rate and lipoprotein lipase (EC 3.1. 1.34) activity of four fat depots were determined.
3. The well-nourished ovariectomized animals of both age-groups gained weight more rapidly than the well-nourished intact animals of the same age, but there was no effect of ovariectomy on body composition, lipid synthesis rate or lipoprotein lipase activity in either the well-nourished or the undernourished animals of either age-group.
4. There was a greater efficiency of energy utilization found in the ovariectomized animals than in the intact animals regardless of age or nutritional status.