Male Wistar rats were given semi-synthetic diets supplemented with 0, 2.5, 5 and 20% cooked Brussels sprouts for 2, 7, 14 or 28 days. The effects on several cytochrome P-450 enzymes and phase II enzymes (glutathione S-transferase (GST), glucuronyl transferases 1 and 2 (GT1 and GT2) and DT-diaphorase (DTD)) in the liver and small intestinal mucosa were investigated. From 2 days of exposure onwards Brussels sprouts induced P4501A2 and--to a lesser extent--P4501A1 apoprotein levels in the liver, whereas in the small intestine markedly enhanced P4502B apoprotein levels could be detected. No enhanced P4503A apoprotein levels were observed. The 5 and 20% sprouts diets increased the intestinal pentoxyresorufin depentylation (PROD, 4.5-9-fold), and the hydroxylation of testosterone at the 16 alpha- and 16 beta-site (2.6-4.2-fold) after 2 days of exposure. In addition, the 20% sprouts died also enhanced the intestinal ethoxyresorufin deethylation (EROD) activity (c. 5-fold), the hepatic EROD and PROD activities (c. 2-fold) and the formation of 6 beta-hydroxytestosterone (c. 1.6-fold); the formation of 2 alpha-hydroxytestosterone in the liver was decreased (to c. 70% of the control value). GST activity was induced both in the liver (5 and 20% diet) and intestine (20% diet only) throughout the experiment. The 20% sprouts diet enhanced the hepatic DTD and GT1 activities, whereas the GT2 activity was decreased. The induction of DTD in the small intestine after 2 days (2.5-3.2-fold with 5 and 20% sprouts diets, respectively) diminished during the experiment. These results indicate that dietary exposure to cooked Brussels sprouts for only 2 days can change the metabolic activities of several phase II enzymes and cytochrome P-450 enzymes, of which P4502B is the predominant form induced in the small intestine.