The S-(-)- and R-(+)-nicotine isomers were administered subcutaneously via Alzet osmotic pumps to male Hartley guinea-pigs (n = 5 with each isomer) over a 23-day period. Estimated dosage rate throughout the experiment was 0.6 mg-1. Urine samples were collected over this time and the levels of urinary oxidative and N-methylated nicotine metabolites were measured by cation-exchange HPLC analysis. S-(-)-Nicotine formed only oxidative metabolites, whereas the R-(+)-isomer formed both oxidative and N-methylated metabolites. 3'-Hydroxycotinine and nicotine-1'-oxide were major metabolites of both enantiomers; cotinine and nornicotine were only minor metabolites. The major N-methylated metabolite of R-(+)-nicotine was N-methylnicotinium ion; N-methylcotininium ion and N-methylnornicotinium ion were also identified as metabolites of this nicotine isomer. Total N-methylated quaternary ammonium metabolites accounted for 15 to 20% of the administered dose of R-(+)-nicotine. An interesting enantioselective reduction in the percent of oxidative urinary metabolites formed S-(-)-nicotine was observed over 23 days. This may indicate the enantioselective induction of an uncharacterized metabolic pathway for this nicotine isomer.