Abstract These effects of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) were examined by light and electron microscopy and biochemical analysis of lysosomal enzyme activities. Several experimental protocols with dosage schedules of either 0.2, 2.0, or 20 mg/kg of PCB were used. Typical histological changes were observed in mice given 2 mg/kg of PCB in a single injection. There were no remarkable changes until 4 days after PCB administration; marked cytoplasmic vacuolation was observed in parotid acinar cells at 7 days. The activities of lysosomal enzymes increased after the PCB injection and their maximum values appeared consistently at 4 days after the treatment; the increases were threefold for acid phosphatase, twofold for β-glucuronidase, threefold for cathepsin D, fivefold for cathepsin H and twofold for cathepsin L. As vacuolation was preceded by a large increase in lysosomal enzyme activities and the vacuoles co-localized with lysosomes, it is suggested that an increase in these activities induced by PCB may be closely related to the development of vacuolation in the parotid acinar cells as a subacute effect of PCB.