Fluorescence two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE * ) is a new development in protein detection for two-dimensional gels. Using mouse liver homogenates (control and paracetamol (N-acetyl-p-aminophenol, APAP)-treated), we have determined the quantitative variation in the 2-D DIGE process and established statistically valid thresholds for assigning quantitative changes between samples. Thresholds were dependent on normalised spot volume, ranged from approximately 1.2 fold for large volume spots to 3.5 fold for small volume spots and were not markedly affected by the particular cyanine dye combination or by multiple operators carrying out the dye labelling reaction. To minimise the thresholds, substantial user editing was required when using ImageMaster™ 2D-Elite software. The difference thresholds were applied to the test system and quantitative protein differences were determined using replicate gels of pool samples and single gels from multiple individual animals (control vs treated in each gel). Throughout, the differences revealed with a particular cyanine dye combination were mirrored almost without exception when the dye combination was reversed. Both pool and individual sample analyses provided unique data to the study. The inter-animal response variability in inbred mice was approximately nine times that contributed by the 2-D DIGE process. A number of the most frequently observed protein changes resulting from APAP-treatment were identified by mass spectrometry. Several of these can be rationalised based on available data on the mechanism of APAP hepatotoxicity but others cannot, indicating that proteomics can provide further insights into the biochemical basis of APAP toxicity.