The metabolism of 50 µM [3-14C] coumarin to polar products separated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and covalently bound metabolites in liver microsomes was compared in a series of inbred strains of mice. Coumarin metabolism to total polar products was higher in female than male mice. In all strains, the coumarin 3,4-epoxidation pathway was the major route of metabolism with o-hydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (o-HPA) as the major metabolite. However, in females, there was a major strain difference in the degree of metabolism to coumarin 7-hydroxylase with DBA/2 and 129 having high 7-hydroxycoumarin formation, CBA/Ca having intermediate levels and the other strains low levels. The differences between the strains was much less pronounced in the male mice. There was also evidence for strain variation in metabolism in the quantities of a number of other coumarin metabolites as detected by HPLC analysis of incubate extracts. However, this variation was of a quantitative nature and relatively small. The metabolism of B6C3F1 hybrid mice, in which coumarin had been identified as carcinogenic in a long-term cancer bioassay, was qualitatively similar to that of the other genotypes. The DBA/2 mouse has been suggested as a model for the metabolism of coumarin in humans. The pattern of metabolism found in this strain is different from most other strains. However, the pattern found for all the mouse strains, including DBA/2, differed appreciably from the profiles for other species including humans in the extent of 7-hydroxylation.