In this study V79 hamster cells were treated with hypertonic NaCl solutions. A pulse treatment of 30 min made it possible to use hypertonic solutions of up to 1500 mM. Hypertonic treatment induced high frequencies of chromosomal aberrations and the aberration pattern led to the conclusion that hypertonicity acts similarly to S-phase-independent mutagens. We also tested the influence of several parameters on aberration induction and tried to standardize the experimental protocol. The mechanisms involved in aberration production after hypertonic treatment are unknown, we discuss a change in chromatin structure, inhibition of repair processes or protein damage responsible for chromosomal aberrations.