Peroxisome proliferation, a well-documented subcellular reaction which follows the administration of hypolipidemic agents, has been well studied in rodents. However, quantitative studies of this phenomenon in other species of laboratory animals are not readily available even though these species are commonly used as predictors of tolerance or safety in humans. The quantitative stereologic studies reported here compared the effects of the new hypolipidemic agent gemfibrozil on hepatic peroxisomes of monkeys, dogs, hamsters and rats of both sexes under several treatment schedules. Gemfibrozil was administered to rats at 300 mg per kg per day for 1 year in the diet; to hamsters at 400 mg per kg per day for 2 weeks by diet admixture; to dogs at 300 mg per kg per day in gelatin capsules for 1 year; and to monkeys at 300 mg per kg day for 3 months by gavage. These dose levels were selected on the basis of tolerance from preliminary studies in each species. At the end of each experimental interval, liver samples were processed for quantitative microscopy. Peroxisomes from male rats were enlarged and the number of peroxisomes per cell were increased 7-fold over controls, resulting in a 20-fold increased peroxisome volume per cell. Statistically, significant increases also occurred in female rats and the difference between treated and controls was 3-fold for both number and volume of peroxisomes per cytoplasmic unit volume. In hamsters, peroxisomes were proliferated and were of significantly smaller size to the extent that the volume of cytoplasm occupied by peroxisomes was not significantly changed. In dogs, the number of peroxisomes per cell was increased and the volume fraction was significantly increased in females only. The number of peroxisomes in young monkeys did not change after treatment, and the peroxisome volume was decreased in males and increased in females. Aged monkeys had increased number of peroxisomes per hepatocyte with increased volume fraction. These results indicate significant differences in the magnitude and direction of peroxisome changes, reflecting species-dependent organelle response to hypolipidemic agents. The order of susceptibility of peroxisome proliferation in laboratory animals is dog < monkey < hamster < rat.