Polyalkylsulfonated C60, or FC4S, a highly water-soluble caged fullerene derivative, is believed to be a free radical remover or an antioxidant in biological systems. A 50 mg/ml aqueous solution was prepared as a master solution and administered to female Sprague-Dawley CD(Crl:CD(SD)BR) rats in a single-dose acute toxicity study or a 12-day subacute toxicity study where rats were given the solution daily. In a study of the median lethal dose (LD50), no rats died after oral administration, and thus FC4S was considered to be nontoxic if administered orally. In an LD50 intraperitoneal injection study, rats died within 30 hr after injection; the LD50 was determined to be approximately 600 mg per kilogram of body weight. Rats injected with the compound intraperitoneally or intravenously immediately eliminated the compound through the kidney; the kidney appeared to be the primary target organ. The compound induced a distinct lysosome-overload nephrosis, a phagolysosomal nephropathy characterized by a tinctorial difference between the outer cortex and the inner cortex and the medulla. The affected outer cortex showed a diffuse degeneration, with the presence of numerous large vacuoles and cytoplasmic aggregates in the tubular epithelium. The phagolysosomal nephropathy was detected in rats after acute exposure as well as in the surviving rats following 1 intraperitoneal injection of 500 mg/kg or intravenous injection of 100 mg/kg. Ultrastructural investigation revealed numerous membranous conglomerates characteristic of phagolysosomal and/or lysosomal inclusions in the cytoplasm of the renal tubular epithelium. These conglomerates were confined to the vacuole, electron-dense, and unevenly stained. They varied in size and shape and were fused or aggregated. Occasional phagolysosomes were also observed in the endothelial cells of the peritubular plexus. A preliminary study of microsomal enzyme activity analysis revealed a suppression effect of liver cytochrome P-450-dependent monooxygenase activities, including cytochrome P-450, cytochrome b5, and benzo(a)pyrene hydroxylase, but an increased level of kidney cytochrome P-450-dependent monooxygenase activities, including NADPH-cytochrome P-450 reductase. The significance of these enzyme alterations was not well determined. Further study is needed to clarify the correlation between the alterations of microsomal enzyme activity and the nephropathy of lysosomal overload-induced changes. These changes may serve as a biological marker in toxicity screening tests for this class of compound.