Under sodium pentobarbital anesthesia (25-35 mg/kg), serum, CSF and inner ear fluids from scala tympani perilymph, scala vestibuli perilymph, and scala media endolymph were collected from normal guinea pigs after the oral administration of glycerol (50%, 12 ml/kg) or the intravenous injection of glycerol (1.0 ml/kg). The sodium and potassium concentrations were assessed by microflame photometry. The electrolyte dynamics of the inner ear fluids were compared after these two routes of administration. Serum: There was no significant change in Na or K levels after either route of administration. CSF: The Na concentration increased rapidly after both intravenous and oral administrations of glycerol and remained high until the end of the experiment. The K concentration did not change significantly after intravenous injection. Scala tympani perilymph: The Na concentration increased transiently, after intravenous glycerol, while after oral administration it increased slowly and steadily. The K concentration increased only after oral administration. Scala vestibuli perilymph: The Na level increased slowly and steadily only after oral administration of glycerol, and the K level increased slightly after intravenous injection. Scala media endolymph: No changes in the K level occurred after either route of administration. After oral administration the Na level increased. These experiments show that dehydration persists longer after oral than after intravenous administration of glycerol. In the diagnosis of Meniere's disease, oral administration of glycerol is more effective than intravenous injection.