1. Metronidazole is metabolized by rat liver in vitro models to form a hydroxy metabolite, an acetic acid metabolite, a glucuronic acid conjugate, and a sulphate conjugate. 2. Four different in vitro systems for investigation of drug metabolism based on liver preparations from the male Wistar rat have been investigated. 3. An incubation system where liver slices are incubated in 12-well culture plates was evaluated with respect to metabolism of metronidazole. Optimal viability was observed for a time period of up to 24 h. The Michaelis-Menten parameters for the metabolism of metronidazole in liver slices were calculated and the intrinsic clearance values compared with the values determined in hepatocytes incubated in suspension. It was found that the intrinsic clearance with respect to formation of oxidative metabolites, the hydroxy metabolite, and the acetic acid metabolite correlated, whereas the intrinsic clearance with respect to formation of the glucuronic acid conjugate was lower in slices compared with hepatocytes. 4. The metabolism of metronidazole in liver slices, in hepatocytes in primary monolayer culture, in hepatocytes incubated in suspension, and in liver microsomes was compared. All the incubations were performed under identical incubation conditions including the same incubation medium. The trend observed was that the initial metabolic rates of the production of the hydroxy metabolite, the glucuronic acid metabolite, and the acetic acid metabolite of metronidazole were higher in microsomes than in the other liver preparations. The metabolic rates in hepatocytes in primary culture and in suspension with respect to the oxidative metabolites were higher than in liver slices. The metabolic turnover observed in liver slices was predicted to correlate with in vivo data earlier obtained for rat.