1,6-Dinitropyrene, a component of diesel exhaust, is a lung carcinogen in male F344 rats following a single intrapulmonary administration. In this study, rats were treated with tumorigenic doses of 1,6-dinitropyrene to establish dose-response relationships for the formation of DNA adducts in target (lung) and nontarget (liver) tissues and for the induction of 6-thioguanine-resistant mutations in spleen T-lymphocytes. One week after treatment with 0.3, 1, 3, 10, 30, 100, or 150 micrograms of 1,6-dinitropyrene, dose-responsive DNA binding was measured in lung and liver with binding in the lung being 10-fold higher than in the liver. In the lung, a 2-fold increase in dose resulted in a 1.8-fold increase in DNA binding at treatments up to 30 micrograms of 1,6-dinitropyrene, while in the liver, a 2-fold increase in 1,6-dinitropyrene produced a 2-fold increase in DNA binding at doses up to the 10 micrograms treatment. Higher doses of 1,6-dinitropyrene resulted in proportionally smaller increases in adduct formation in the two tissues. When measured 21 weeks after treatment, mutations in T-lymphocytes increased with doses up to 100 micrograms of 1,6-dinitropyrene, but the response was nonlinear throughout the dose range. These findings indicate that concentrations of 1,6-dinitropyrene that produce a dose-dependent induction of lung tumors also result in a dose-dependent formation of DNA adducts and induction of lymphocyte mutations but that the dose-response curves for DNA binding and mutations are different.