Induction of cytochrome P-450 IIE1 by pyrazole has been shown in a variety of studies with isolated microsomes or reconstituted systems containing the purified P-450 isozyme. Experiments were conducted to document induction by pyrazole in intact hepatocytes by studying the oxidation of p-nitrophenol to 4-nitrocatechol or of aniline to p-aminophenol. Hepatocytes prepared from rats treated with pyrazole for 2 days oxidized p-nitrophenol or aniline at rates which were 3- to 4-fold higher than saline controls. To observe maximal induction in hepatocytes, it was necessary to add metabolic substrates such as pyruvate, sorbitol or xylitol, which suggests that availability of the NADPH cofactor may be rate-limiting in the hepatocytes from the pyrazole-treated rats. Carbon monoxide inhibited the oxidation of p-nitrophenol and aniline by hepatocytes from the pyrazole-treated rats and controls, demonstrating the requirement for cytochrome P-450. The oxidation of both substrates by the hepatocyte preparations was inhibited by a variety of agents that interact with and are effective substrates for oxidation by P-450 IIE1 such as ethanol, dimethylnitrosamine, pyrazole and 4-methylpyrazole. Microsomes isolated from pyrazole-treated rats oxidized aniline and p-nitrophenol at elevated rats compared to saline controls. These results indicate that induction by pyrazole of the oxidation of drugs which are effective substrates for P-450 IIE1 can be observed in intact hepatocytes. The extent of induction and many of the characteristics of aniline or p-nitrophenol oxidation observed with isolated microsomes from pyrazole-treated rats can also be found in the intact hepatocytes.