Treatment with 0.5% (w/w) dietary clofibrate, a peroxisome proliferator, for 14 days induced microsomal carboxylesterase activities for five substrates including malathion, clofibrate, diethylsuccinate, diethylphthalate, and p-nitrophenylacetate in liver and kidney of male Swiss-Webster mice and Sprague-Dawley rats. The induction was substrate, tissue, and species dependent. The carboxylesterase activity was induced in mouse from 1.2- to 2.2-fold (liver) and from 1.1- to 1.7-fold (kidney) depending upon substrate used. Analogous values from rat ranged from 1.0- to 1.4-fold (liver) and from 1.1- to 1.8-fold (kidney). Enzyme activities were either decreased or not affected in testes of treated mice and rats. Substituted trifluoroketones ("transition-state" inhibitors of carboxylesterase) were found to be very potent inhibitors of clofibrate-metabolizing carboxylesterase(s) and to be potentially useful in distinguishing among isozymes. The inhibition data suggested that changes in carboxylesterase activity following clofibrate treatment were both qualitative and quantitative.