The metabolism of phenacetin is primarily by cytochrome P450-dependent O-deethylation to paracetamol (POD activity). In untreated rats, microsomal POD activity is detectable in both the liver and lung, but not in the small intestine or the kidney. POD activity is highly induced in both hepatic and extrahepatic tissues of the rat following treatment with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as 3-methylcholanthrene (MC). Only cytochrome P450c (P450IA1) is inducible in rat extrahepatic tissues by MC or isosafrole, whereas in the liver both cytochromes P450c and P450d (P450IA2) are inducible by these compounds. Specific antibodies to cytochromes P450c and P450d were used to study the expression and function of these two related isoenzymes in rat liver and extrahepatic tissues before and after induction with MC. Whereas cytochrome P450d is responsible for all of the high affinity POD activity in hepatic microsomal fractions of both untreated and MC treated rats, this activity is mediated only by P450c in microsomal fractions from extrahepatic tissues following MC treatment. POD activity of microsomal fractions from lung of untreated rats was not mediated by either cytochrome P450c or P450d.