Abstract o,p-Chlorophenylhydroxylamines (CPHAs) (10468-16-3, 823-86-9) only demonstrated mutagenicity in the presence of S9 mix and norharman (NOH) (244-63-3), as well as chloronitrobenzenes. The mutagenic activity of o-CPHA was 30 times higher than that of p-CPHA. When o-CPHA was preincubated with S9 mix without NOH, the mutagenic activity disappeared rapidly. The decrease in activity during the preincubation was suppressed by addition of NOH. HPLC analysis revealed that o-CPHA was metabolized to o-chloroaniline ( o-CA) (95-51-2) and that the metabolic reduction was inhibited by NOH. When microsomes containign NADPH were used instead of S9 mix, o-CPHA exhibited only very weak mutagenicity. The activity in the microsome system, however, was greatly enhanced by adding cytosol or ascorbic acid (50-81-7). These phenomena were only observed in the conventional plate incorporation method. In the case of the liquid incubation assay, in which test compound metabolism and tester strain mutation only occur in the liquid incubation medium, the mutagenic activity of o-CPHA in the microsome system with NOH was comparable to that in the S9 system, indicating that o-CPHA was activated by an enzyme in microsomes in the presence of NOH. Consequently, it was concluded that NOH not only affects the metabolic inactivation of o-CPHA to o-CA by S9, but also the metabolic activation of o-CPHA by microsomes. No appreciable enhancing effects of cytosol and ascorbic acid were observed in the liquid incubation assay, suggesting that these factors affect the stability of CPHA or an active metabolite. The microsome activation of o-CPHA was dependent on NADPH and oxygen; SKF-525A (62-68-0), metyrapone (54-36-4) and α-naphthoflavone (604-59-1) inhibited the mutagenic activity by about 50%, suggesting that cytochrome P-450 was involved in the metabolic activation.