We studied the effect of butyrate on cell cycle progression and polyploidization in three fibroblast (rat 3Y1, human IMR-90, and human embryo lung HEL) and two epithelial (human embryo kidney HEK and monkey kidney BSC-1) cells. In these cells, except for 3Y1, G1 arrest with butyrate was incomplete, and the production of tetraploid cells was detectable in the presence of butyrate. G2 arrest with butyrate was also incomplete in HEL and BSC-1 cells, and the number of HEL cells increased in the presence of butyrate. On the contrary, most BSC-1 cells that divided in the presence of butyrate were unstable and the number of attached cells decreased. These results indicate that the effect of butyrate on cell cycle progression varies with the cell type and that polyploidization can be induced by a single treatment with butyrate.