The suitability of the AIN-76A diet for Fischer-344 rats was investigated. This diet, proposed by the American Institute of Nutrition for use when a purified diet composed of refined ingredients and added vitamins and minerals is required, was tested in Sprague-Dawley rats. Male weanling Fischer-344 rats were fed three different lots of the AIN-76A diet from two suppliers. Increase in body weights and food consumption were compared to animals fed a cereal-based control diet. Animals were sacrificed at various intervals and tissues were taken for histopathological observation. By 8 weeks moderate to marked periportal lipidosis developed in livers of all rats fed the AIN-76A diet. Liver-body weight ratios over the 8-week period were significantly higher in rats fed AIN-76A diets compared to rats fed the control diet. However, growth rates of rats fed the AIN-76A diet were similar to growth rates of controls. Some rats fed the AIN-76A diet developed severe hemorrhagic lesions. The AIN-76A diet in its present form is not suitable for use with male Fischer-344 rats.