The quantity of therapeutic gene products released from genetically engineered cells can be controlled externally at different levels. The widely used approach of controlling expression, however, generally has the disadvantage that chemical substances must be applied for stimulation. An alternative strategy aims at controlling gene products at posttranslational levels such as secretion. The secretion of a therapeutic agent can be regulated if the agent is targeted to the regulated secretory pathway and stored in the secretory granules until its release. In this article we address the question of whether the release of beta-endorphin, an opioid with a potent analgesic effect, could be induced by electrically stimulating stably transfected Neuro-2a cells. Throughout this study we used the human proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene, which is the precursor molecule for human beta-endorphin. We analyzed its subcellular localization and found it in the regulated secretory pathway in Neuro-2a cells. Using electrical field stimulation we were able to identify a stimulation pattern that significantly increased the release of beta-endorphin-immunoreactive material, although to a limited extent. This result indicates that electrical stimulation of secretion could be used to manipulate the amount of a therapeutic agent released from transplanted cells.