This study demonstrates that the exposure of phenobarbitone-treated rats to halothane at an oxygen concentration of either 10% or 14% results in marked decreases in cytochrome P-450 content and aminopyrine deraethylase activity in animals sacrificed from 1 to 48 hr post-exposure. The alterations observed in the hepatic mixed function oxidase system were accompanied by increases in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), ornithine carbamyl transferase (OCT) and changes in liver pathology. However, the minor changes in cytochrome P-450 content and aminopyrine demethylase activity observed following exposure of enzyme-induced rats to halothane under normoxic conditions (i.e. 21% oxygen) were not of a sufficient magnitude to lead to hepatic cell necrosis. Halothane administration in the absence of phenobarbitone pretreatment (i.e. 21% oxygen) or during hypoxia alone (i.e either 10% or 14% oxygen) did not result in any systematic changes in the parameters assayed. The results suggest that cytochrome P-450 may catalyse its own inactivation by virtue of greater free radical production under conditions which favour the non-oxygen dependent metabolism of halothane. The impairment in microsomal function as evidenced by decreases in cytochrome P-450 and aminopyrine demethylase activity are considered to occur as a primary consequence of the reductive metabolism of halothane. Data are presented which support the concept of the initiation of hepatic damage occurring during the period of anaesthesia with halothane.