Rutaecarpine is an alkaloid originally isolated from the unripe fruit of Evodia rutaecarpa. Recently, rutaecarpine has been characterized to have an anti-inflammatory activity through cyclooxygenase-2 inhibition. In the present studies, the effects of rutaecarpine on liver cytochrome P450 s (P450s) and P450 s involved in the metabolism of rutaecarpine were studied in vivo and in vitro, respectively, because the data are crucial in the early development of rutaecarpine as a new drug candidate. Oral administration to male ICR mice of rutaecarpine for 3 consecutive days induced liver P450 1A-, 2B- and 2E1-selective monooxygenase activities. The induction of P450 1A and 2B by rutaecarpine was confirmed by Western immunoblotting. When rutaecarpine was incubated with rat liver microsomes in the presence of an NADPH-generating system, five metabolites were detected by UV and mass spectral analyses. The 3-methylcholanthrene- and phenobarbital-induced microsomes greatly increased the formation of metabolites. Our present results suggest that rutaecarpine might induce P450 1A and 2B in mice, and that P450 1A and 2B might predominantly metabolize rutaecarpine in rat liver microsomes.