Metabolic transformation of the mucoregulator and bronchodilator 7-(1,3-thiazolidin-2-ylmethyl)theophylline was studied in vitro with a rat liver microsomal preparation containing a NADPH-generating system. The only metabolite observed was 7-theophyllinacetaldehyde. In contrast to previous literature pointing out the chemical nature of 2-substituted thiazolidine ring cleavage, the formation of 7-theophyllinacetaldehyde was mediated by monooxygenase-dependent oxidation. Possibly an unstable sulfoxide was the first metabolic product, rapidly converted to 7-theophyllinacetaldehyde by hydrolysis. The sulfoxidation was apparently catalyzed mainly by flavin-containing monooxygenases, as selective thermal inactivation and methymazole significantly reduced the rate of formation of the metabolite. No N7-dealkylation pathway producing theophylline was detected, indicating a high regioselectivity in in vitro metabolism, due to the nucleophilicity of the sulfur atom.