1. Pilocarpine is a cholinomimetic natural alkaloid. Its interactions with testosterone hydroxylations, coumarin 7-hydroxylase (COH), dimethylnitrosamine N-demethylase (DMNA), pentoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (PROD) and 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD), which are indicative of the activities of cytochrome P4502A5 (CYP2A5) or 6, 2E1, 2B, 1A, were examined in mouse and human liver microsomes. 2. In mouse liver microsomes the IC50 values of pilocarpine were 6 microM for COH and testosterone 15 alpha-hydroxylase (T15 alpha OH) activities, 4 microM for PROD, approximately 100 microM for DMNA and testosterone 6 beta-hydroxylase (T6 beta OH) activities and > 1 mM for EROD activity. 3. In human liver microsomes, the IC50 value for COH was 6 microM and for DMNA 10 microM; T15 alpha OH and PROD activities were not detectable but T6 beta OH and testosterone 16 beta/2 beta-hydroxylase activities were moderately inhibited (IC50 70 microM). 4. These results suggest that pilocarpine has (i) a high affinity towards phenobarbitone-inducible CYP2A4/5 and CYP2B activities in mouse liver, (ii) a high affinity towards CYP2A6 in human liver microsomes and (iii) a moderate affinity towards CYP3A enzyme(s) in both microsomal preparations. 5. The low IC50 concentrations in vitro indicate potential metabolic interactions between pilocarpine and several P450 enzymes.