1. The dose-response relationships for hepatic CYP2B induction by 1,4-bis[2-(3,5-dichloropyridyloxy)]benzene (TCPOBOP) were examined in the male F344/NCr rat. TCPOBOP, administered for 14 days at 0-1000 ppm in the diet, caused concentration-dependent induction of hepatic CYP2B1 protein and RNA, and of CYP2B-mediated catalytic activities (benzyloxy- and pentoxyresorufin O-dealkylation, and testosterone 16 beta-hydroxylation). ED50 values for CYP2B induction were > or = 300 ppm dietary TCPOBOP. The maximal inductions observed were 66-88% of those resulting from exposure of the rats to 500 ppm dietary phenobarbital. 2. The EC50 values for hepatic CYP2B induction were 1.5-3.0 microM (based on serum TCPOBOP) and 15-20 mumol/kg liver. 3. The maximal inductions of isozymes of the CYP3A subfamily, of microsomal epoxide hydrolase, and of glutathione S-transferases Ya/Yc and Yb1/Yb2 in rats exposed to TCPOBOP were 58-74% of those resulting from exposure of the rats to 500 ppm dietary phenobarbital. 4. The ED50 value for induction of benzyloxyresorufin O-dealkylation in cultured rat hepatocytes by TCPOBOP was determined to be 0.93 microM. The maximal induction of this activity caused by TCPOBOP was 87% of the maximum increases caused by phenobarbital. 5. The results indicate that TCPOBOP is a highly effective phenobarbital-type inducer in the rat when administered in the diet for 2 weeks at 1000 ppm. When extent of induction is related to serum total xenobiotic level, TCPOBOP would appear to be at least as potent as, if not more potent than, phenobarbital in the rat.