Cytochrome P-450 concentrations in rat liver and kidney were differentially altered by pretreatment with phenobarbital (PB), cadmium or fasting. The rats were then challenged with chloroform. The consequent hepatotoxicity was assayed by alanine amino transferase activity (AlaAT); the nephrotoxicity by inhibition of p-aminohippuric acid (PAH) uptake in vitro and both by histopathology. Fasting increased renal and hepatic cytochromes P-450 and chloroform-mediated necrosis in both organs. PB induction increased and cadmium decreased the liver cytochrome P-450 concentrations and the hepatotoxicity mediated by chloroform. PB and cadmium had no effect on renal cytochrome P-450 concentrations or the nephrotoxicity of chloroform. These results strongly suggest that the nephrotoxic metabolite of chloroform is produced within the kidney and the hepatotoxic metabolite in the liver.