Previous studies have shown that a chlorinated pesticide, chlordecone (Kepone), greatly potentiates carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) hepatotoxicity and lethality (Curtis, L.R., Williams, W.L., and Mehendale, H.M. (1979). Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 51, 283-293; Curtis, L.R., and Mehendale, H.M. (1980). Drug Metab. Dispos. 8, 23-27). The present study describes sequential morphologic changes which occurred in livers of rats given a "nontoxic" level of chlordecone (10 ppm for 15 days) followed by a single injection of CCl4 (0.1 ml/kg). The hepatic alterations were examined 1 to 36 hr after exposure of the rats to CCl4. Those changes were compared to hepatic alterations which occurred in rats that received the same dose of chlordecone (10 ppm for 15 days) or a single injection of CClr (0.1 ml/kg) alone. The only change noted in livers from rats that received chlordecone alone was focal increase in smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) of hepatocytes at 24 hr and continuing throughout the time course of the experiment. Livers from animals that received CCl4 alone showed morphologic changes at 6 hr consisting of glycogen loss, increase in SER, and dilatation of rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) in pericentral hepatocytes. Accumulation of small lipid droplets was also noted in midzonal hepatocytes. After 6 hr, there was no further increase in severity of injury. At 12 hr recovery was noticeable and, by 36 hr, livers from the CCl4 group appeared normal. Prior administration of chlordecone greatly potentiated pathologic changes in livers of animals that received CCl4. By 4 hr, there was total loss of glycogen in hepatocytes throughout the entire lobule. Small lipid droplets were present in pericentral, midzonal and periportal hepatocytes. Hepatocytes with extremely dilated RER were randomly scattered throughout the entire lobule. At 6 hr, there was further accumulation of lipid in the form of large droplets in hepatocytes. Focal, necrotic cells surrounded by polymorphonuclear leukocytes were randomly distributed throughout the lobule. The number of necrotic foci had progressively increased at the 12- and 24-hr intervals. By 36 hr, confluent areas of necrosis in pericentral and midzonal areas were observed in livers of some animals. This study indicates that although the combination of chlordecone and CCl4 produces much greater hepatic injury resembling damage due to a massive dose of CCl4, histologically, some differences in the progression and distribution of hepatocellular damage within the lobular architecture of the liver are evident.