Studies were done to determine the effects of a P450 suicide inhibitor, 1-aminobenzotriazole (ABT), on adrenal steroid and xenobiotic metabolism. Incubation of guinea pig adrenal microsomes with ABT plus an NADPH-generating system caused a time-dependent decline in total P450 concentrations. The maximal decrease in P450 levels was approximately 35% and was accompanied by an equimolar decrease in heme content. Western blot analyses indicated that ABT had no effect on P450 apoprotein levels. Benzphetamine (BZ) N-demethylase and benzo[a]pyrene (BP) hydroxylase activities were inhibited almost completely by microsomal incubations with ABT. In contrast, neither steroid 17 alpha-hydroxylase nor 21-hydroxylase activity was affected by ABT. The steroid-induced type I spectral change in adrenal microsomes also was not affected by ABT, whereas that induced by BZ was eliminated. Similar studies with adrenal mitochondria indicated that ABT had no effect on mitochondrial P450 concentrations or on mitochondrial steroid metabolism. The results demonstrate that the in vitro actions of ABT on adrenal cytochromes P450 are highly selective for those isozymes that catalyze xenobiotic metabolism. Therefore, ABT should serve as a useful probe for further characterization of adrenal xenobiotic-metabolizing P450 isozymes.