Hepatic drug metabolism is impaired in experimental animals and humans with renal diseases. An anticancer drug, cisplatin induces acute renal failure (ARF) in rats. Under the same experimental conditions, cisplatin causes down-regulation of hepatic cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes in an isozyme selective manner. The present study examined the pathological role of ARF in the down-regulation of hepatic P450 enzymes in the cisplatin-treated rats. Male rats with single dose of intraperitoneally cisplatin (5 mg/kg) caused marked changes in renal parameters, BUN and serum creatinine but not hepatic parameters, serum alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase. The rats also suffered from down-regulation of hepatic microsomal CYP2C11 and CYP3A2, male specific P450 isozymes, but not CYP1A2, CYP2E1, or CYP2D2. The decrease in serum testosterone level was also observed in injured rats, which was consistent with the selective effects on male specific P450 enzymes. Protection of rats against cisplatin-induced ARF by dimethylthiourea, a hydroxyl radical scavenger, also protected rats against the decrease in serum testosterone levels and the down-regulation of CYP2C11 and CYP3A2. Carboplatin, an analogue to cisplatin but no ARF inducer, did not cause decrease in serum testosterone levels and down-regulation of hepatic male specific P450 enzymes. These results suggest that down-regulation of hepatic P450 enzymes in male rats given cisplatin is closely related to the cisplatin-induced ARF and the resultant impairment of testis function.