The effects of orally administered dimethyl-4,4'-dimethoxy-5,6,5',6'-dimethylene-dioxybiphenyl-2,2'-d icarboxylate (DDB) on the hepatotoxicity induced by carbon tetrachloride, acetaminophen or ethanol were investigated in rats and mice. Either single or repeated DDB pretreatment (50 or 200 mg/kg) did not alter the hepatotoxicity induced by carbon tetrachloride (0.2 or 1.0 ml/kg, i.p.) in female rats as indicated by increases in the activity of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH) in serum. The hepatotoxicity of acetaminophen (350 mg/kg, i.p.) was also unaffected in male mice pretreated with DDB (50 mg/kg/d) for a week. However, DDB administration (50 mg/kg/d for 7 d) decreased the hepatic fatty degeneration induced by repeated ethanol treatment (0.75 g/kg, i.p., x2 times a day for a week) in rats as shown by the accumulation of triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver. Malondialdehyde (MDA) formation in liver homogenates was inhibited by DDB treatment. The significance of the action of DDB on alcoholic fatty liver generation in clinical settings is discussed.