Glucuronidation of 4-nitrophenol, nopol (a monoterpenoid alcohol) and bilirubin, which in the rat, are catalyzed by three different enzymes, has been examined in liver biopsies from patients with various liver diseases, in particular cholestasis. These different activities were not correlated, which strongly suggests that at least three independently regulated forms of UDP-glucuronosyltransferases were present in the microsomes. Non ionic detergents (Triton X100, Emulgen 911) and deoxycholate produced similar activation (more than 2-fold) of the glucuronidation of 4-nitrophenol. Amphipathic substances, such as CHAPS (3-[3-cholamidopropyl-dimethylammonio]-1-propane sulfonate), and lysophosphatidylcholines maximally increased this UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activity, the most potent being oleoyl lysophosphatidylcholine (4-fold increase). Discriminant analysis of the data revealed no correlation between the three different UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activities and the age or sex of the patients. A good correlation was found on multidimensional analysis between form 1 of the enzyme (4-nitrophenol glucuronidation) and, in decreasing order of magnitude, epoxide hydrolase (measured with benzo(a)pyrene-4,5-oxide as substrate), cytochrome P-450, 7-ethoxycoumarin deethylase, aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyltransferase (r = 0.89); and between Form 3 of the enzyme (bilirubin glucuronidation) and NADPH cytochrome c reductase, alkaline phosphatase, (r = 0.81). These relationships may reflect the differential variation in enzymatic activities in various hepato-biliary diseases.