Glucuronidation of phenols (1-naphthol, 4-methylumbelliferone) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ketoprofen, naproxen and carprofen was investigated in human colon carcinoma Caco-2 cell clones. Glucuronidation of these substances was highly effective in microsomes of the clones PD-7 and TC-7, but much lower in the PF-11 clone. The activity increased up to a maximum after 21 days of culture. RT-PCR experiments indicated that the PD-7 and TC-7 clones expressed the UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) isoforms UGT1A6, UGT1A3 and UGT2B7, which could account for the glucuronidation of phenols and carboxylic acids observed. Beta-naphthoflavone stimulated by 2-fold the enzyme activity toward 1-naphthol in PD-7 and TC-7 clones, but not in PF-11 cells. This increase was parallel to that of the UGT1A6 mRNA level. Glucuronidation of ketoprofen was also sensitive to the inducing effect of beta-naphthoflavone. Actinomycin D and cycloheximide did not affect the induction of UGT1A6 by beta-naphthoflavone, but suppressed that of ketoprofen UGT. The UGT1A3 mRNA content was enhanced by beta-naphthoflavone; by contrast, that of UGT2B7 was insensitive to the inducer. In conclusion, several UGT isoforms of both families 1 and 2, which glucuronidate phenols and carboxylic NSAIDs, have been identified in Caco-2 cells. They are differently sensitive to beta-naphthoflavone.