Previously published studies have shown that cytochrome P450 (P450) enzyme systems can produce reactive oxygen species and suggest roles of P450s in oxidative stress. However, most of the studies have been done in vitro, and the potential link between P450 induction and in vivo oxidative damage has not been rigorously explored with validated biomarkers. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were pretreated with typical P450 inducers (beta-naphthoflavone, phenobarbital (PB), Aroclor 1254, isoniazid, pregnenolone 16alpha-carbonitrile, and clofibrate) or the general P450 inhibitor 1-aminobenztriazole; induction of P4501A, -2B, -2E, -3A, and -4A subfamily enzymes was confirmed by immunoblotting and the suppression of P450 by 1-aminobenztriazole using spectral analysis. PB and Aroclor 1254 significantly enhanced malondialdehyde and H2O2 generation and NADPH oxidation in vitro and significantly enhanced formation in vivo, in both liver and plasma. Some of the other treatments changed in vitro parameters but none did in vivo. The PB-mediated increases in liver and plasma F2-isoprostanes could be ablated by 1-aminobenztriazole, implicating the PB-induced P450(s) in the F2-isoprostane elevation. The markers of in vivo oxidative stress were influenced mainly by PB and Aroclor 1254, indicative of an oxidative damage response only to barbiturate-type induction and probably related to 2B subfamily enzymes. These studies define the contribution of P450s to oxidative stress in vivo, in that the phenomenon is relatively restricted and most P450s do not contribute substantially.