Hepatic silicosis, cirrhosis, liver cell adenoma, and carcinomas developed in nude mice (NCr-Nu) given quartz by the subcutaneous and intraperitoneal routes. Syrian golden hamsters (15:16 EHS:cr) given quartz by both routes developed extensive fibrosis and cirrhosis and had higher morbidity and mortality rates after 3 months. Crystalline silica (quartz) induces fibrosis, adenomas, and carcinomas in the lungs of Fisher 344 rats, but certain strains of mice and hamsters are resistant to quartz-induced pulmonary carcinogenesis. Pulmonary fibrosis, however, is minimal in mice and absent in hamsters who received quartz intratracheally. To determine whether species differences are due to organ-specific rather than species-specific factors, susceptibility of the liver to quartz toxicity was investigated in nude mice and hamsters. The present study shows that the differential manifestations of quartz toxicity by these rodent species are dependent on factors that are organ-specific rather than host-specific. At 3 months, hepatocytes in mice were immunostained with intracellular transforming growth factor (TGF) β1 (LC 1-30) but not with TGF-β1 latency-associated peptide (LAP) protein (266-278); at 12 months, hepatocytes were immunostained with TGF-β1 LAP (266-278) but not with TGF-β1 (LC1-30). The hepatocytes of hamsters at 3 months showed immunoreactivities to TGF-β1 LAP (266-278) and TGF-β1 (LC1-30); immunostaining to TGF-β1 (LC1-30) was detected in nonparenchymal cells. Extracellular TGF-β1 (CC1-30) was detected in the silicotic granulomas and fibrous tissue in livers of both species. Quartz-induced liver carcinoma did not express TGF-β1 LAP (266-278) and LC (1-30) proteins, but these were detected in the cells of the adenoma in the same liver. Control animals showed no hepatic lesions nor immunoreactivity to TGF-β1. The spatial and temporal patterns of expression of TGF-β1, TGF-beta 2, TGF-beta receptor type II messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and TGF-β1 proteins in the different hepatic lesions suggests that TGF-beta isoforms may play a role in the pathogenesis of quartz-induced fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver cell adenoma, and carcinoma.