The infrastructure of the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) in the oesophagus of the monkey resembled that described in the oesophagus of other mammalian species but differed in their paucity and almost lack of smooth endoplasmic reticulum, caveolae and filaments. The plasmalcmma of the ICC was in close contact (20- to 30-nm gaps) with that of smooth muscle cells. This may occasionally take the form of a desmosome. but gap junctions have not been observed. Vesiculated axon profiles, containing large granular or agranular vesicles were in close contact (20- to 30-nm gaps) with the plasmalemma of ICC. In a few vesiculated profiles a presynaptic density could be recognized. The intercalation of the ICC between the vesiculated axon profiles and the smooth muscle cells suggest a role in oesophageal motility. Between 3 and 21 days following bilateral vagotomy some ICC showed regressive changes such as increased electron density and shrinkage of the cytoplasm, crowding of the organelles and dissolution of the nuclear chromatin material. Axon profiles in the vicinity of the affected ICC contained glycogen granules suggesting injury. In late stages, the number of ICC and smooth muscle contacts was reduced. The results suggest that the vagus nerves exert a trophic influence on the ICC and that the intercellular relationships between ICC and smooth muscle cells possess a degree of plasticity. It is tentatively suggested that these vagal effects may be mediated via the oesophageal myenteric ganglia.