1. Investigated were the effects of a new oral antidiabetic drug, troglitazone, and its three metabolites and antidiabetic drug candidates pioglitazone and rosiglitazone on xenobiotic oxidations catalyzed by nine recombinant human cytochrome P450 (P450 or CYP) enzymes and by human liver microsomes. 2. Troglitazone (5 microM) significantly inhibited CYP2C8-dependent paclitaxel 6alpha-hydroxylation and CYP2C9-dependent S-warfarin 7-hydroxylation. On the other hand, pioglitazone and rosiglitazone (50 microM) only slightly inhibited these xenobiotic oxidation activities catalyzed by CYP2C enzymes. 3. The inhibitory potential of troglitazone (50% inhibition concentration, IC50) was approximately 5 microM for drug oxidations catalyzed by CYP2C9 and CYP2C8 and approximately 20 microM for activities catalyzed by CYP2C19 and CYP3A4 respectively. For the three metabolites of troglitazone tested, a quinone-type metabolite (M3) was the most potent inhibitor for CYP2C enzymes, followed by a sulphate conjugate (M1); effects of a glucuronide (M2) were very weak. The inhibitory effects of the parent drug were more potent than those of metabolites. Troglitazone and M3 inhibited P450 activities mainly through a competitive manner with Ki = 0.2-1.7 microM and 1.4-8.8 microM respectively. 4. In three human liver microsomes, troglitazone and its metabolites also inhibited paclitaxel 6alpha-hydroxylation, S-warfarin 7-hydroxylation, S-mephenytoin 4'-hydroxylation, and testosterone 6beta-hydroxylation with similar IC50, as observed for the recombinant P450 enzyme systems. 5. These results suggest that xenobiotic oxidations by P450 enzymes are more substantially affected by troglitazone and its metabolites than pioglitazone or rosiglitazone, and that drug interactions may be of much importance to understand the basis for the pharmacological and toxicological actions of this new oral antidiabetic drug.