A marked difference has been observed in the inhibitory effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on oxidative phosphorylation of rat liver mitochondria. It should be noted that some of the potent inhibitors, N-phenylanthranilic acids and diclofenac, have a similar "skeleton" structure, diphenylamine. Diphenylamine itself was found to inhibit oxidative phosphorylation significantly, although its inhibition potency was weaker than that of NSAIDs with a diphenylamine structure. In addition to decreases in the respiration control index (ratio of state 3 to state 4 respiration), these compounds released oligomycin-inhibited state 3 respiration. These results demonstrated that diphenylamine, as well as N-phenylanthranilic acids and diclofenac, was an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation of rat liver mitochondria. Thus, diphenylamine was suggested to play an important role in the uncoupling effects of NSAIDs with a diphenylamine skeleton.