It is essential to establish the activity and regulation of the cytochrome P450 system of species selected for toxicological and pharmacological studies. The minipig has become a popular substitute for the traditional non-rodent species although little information is available on its P450 system. The total P450 and the enzyme activity of the most important drug-metabolizing isoenzymes: CYP1A2, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1 and CYP3A4 were measured in liver microsomes from 4 minipigs and 8 conventional pigs of both sexes. Immunochemical levels were determined for 4 of teh isoenzymes. The total P450 activity was slightly higher in minipigs compared to conventional pigs but no sex difference was detected. CYP1A2 activity (7-ethoxyresorufin) was 4 times higher in female minipigs than in male minipigs. The activity in male minipigs was almost identical to the activity in conventional pigs. The activity of CYP2E1 (chlorzoxazone) was 4 times higher in female than in male minipigs and 2 times higher in female than in male conventional pigs. No activity of CYP2D6 (debrisoquine) and CYP2C19 (mephenytoin) could be detected. The CYP3A4 activity (testosterone) detected in minipigs was higher than the activity in conventional pigs. A weak sex difference was seen in both strains. Western blotting using anti-human CYP2E1 and CYP3A4 confirmed the results obtained in the enzyme activity assays, while only CYP1A2 correlated with the activity in the conventional strain. The total P450 enzyme activity was close to the levels reported for human beings, as were the activities of CYP2E1 and CYP3A4.