Abstract The environmental contaminant, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo- p-dioxin (TCDD) induces the expression of a number of genes. The biochemical process of the induction of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH-3) was investigated in rat H4IIE hepatoma cells in culture. The kinetics of ALDH-3-induction exhibited parallel increases in the rate of transcription, mRNA, protein, and enzyme activity, all reaching a plateau at 36–48 h after addition of TCDD. Half maximal and maximal inductions occurred at 0.1 and 1 n m of TCDD, respectively. No significant changes in the half-life of ALDH-3 mRNA (14 h) were observed in the cells exposed to three different concentrations of TCDD. Other inducers of xenobiotic metabolism, such as 3-methylcholanthrene and β-naphthoflavone, also induced ALDH-3 mRNA to a similar level as TCDD, whereas antioxidants or electrophiles, such as tert-butylhydroquinone and dimethyl fumarate, did not show any induction of ALDH-3 mRNA. To examine the involvement of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor ( Ah receptor) in the induction of ALDH-3, mouse variant cell lines defective in cytochrome P450IA1-induction and a parental wild type cell line (Hepa1c1c7) were studied. ALDH-3 mRNA and the transcription of its gene were detected in TCDD-treated wild type cells, but not in the treated and untreated variant cells. These results demonstrate that TCDD induces transcription of the ALDH-3 gene via its binding to the Ah receptor.