The effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on a number of hepatic and extrahepatic foreign-compound-metabolizing enzyme systems in microsomes from rats, rabbits and guinea pigs were investigated. Following TCDD treatment, the N-demethylation of benzphetamine, aminopyrine and ethylmorphine was suppressed in hepatic microsomes from male but not from female rats. However, both cytochrome P-450 and benzpyrene hydroxylase were significantly stimulated in hepatic microsomes from both male and female rats at doses as small as 1 mug TCDD/kg body weight. The inductive effect on rat hepatic microsomal enzymes was considerably more persistent than the suppressive effect. Following a single oral dose of 25 mug TCDD/kg weight, benzpyrene hydroxylase of male rat liver microsomes remained significantly elevated for 73 days but the suppression of benzphetamine N-demethylase had gone after 35 days. The induction of benzpyrene hydroxylase in male rat liver microsomes by TCDD was independent of the age of the rat and the levels to which this enzyme was increased was similar in male rats of all ages. However, the suppression of benzphetamine N-demethylase in male rat liver microsomes was age related: the suppression was seen only in adult animals and in the very young (10 days old) the enzyme was actually induced by TCDD. Inductive effects appeared in both smooth and rough-surfaced hepatic microsomes from male rats but the suppression of N-demethylation occurred only in the smooth-surfaced microsomes (SER). In microsomes from extrahepatic tissues of the rat, induction of mixed-function oxidases (MFOs) by TCDD occurred only in the kidney. However, UDPglucuronyltransferase was induced in microsomes from lung, kidney, intestine and brain but not testes. The response in the rabbit and guinea pig to TCDD differed considerably from that in the rat. Benzpyrene hydroxylase was unaffected in hepatic microsomes from the guinea pig and actually suppressed in microsomes from rabbit liver. Benzphetamine N-demethylase was also suppressed in rabbit liver microsomes. Glucuronyl-transferase was unaffected by TCDD in microsomes from liver, lung or kidney of the rabbit and guinea pig. The only lung enzyme responsive to TCDD was biphenyl 4-hydroxylase of the rabbit and guinea pig. Suppression was not observed in any of the extraheptic tissues studied and may be confined to only certain hepatic systems.