Because acute infection and inflammation affect drug metabolism and drug-metabolizing enzymes, the effect of the acute-phase response on the expression of glutathione S-transferase (GST) isoenzymes, glutathione synthesis, and several antioxidant enzymes was investigated. Hepatic expression of GST isozymes, positive and negative acute-phase reactants, and antioxidant enzymes were determined by Northern blotting and hybridization with gene-specific oligonucleotide probes after lipopolysaccharide treatment of rats. Lipopolysaccharide caused the expected acute-phase response as judged by the increased expression of positive and decreased expression of negative acute-phase proteins. The messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of the major hepatic rat GST isozymes A1, A2, A3, M1, and M2 was decreased 50% to 90%. Total hepatic GST activity toward 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene was also significantly decreased. mRNA expression of γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS) large subunit and catalase was reduced by approximately 60%. GCS enzyme activity was also decreased, resulting in a 35% decrease in the hepatic content of reduced glutathione 4 days after lipopolysaccharide challenge. Mn-Superoxide dismutase expression was increased 13-fold, and thioredoxin level was elevated 3-fold after lipopolysaccharide challenge. The expression of all parameters determined returned to near control levels 7 days after treatment. Together, these data show that GSTs and GCS are negative acute-phase proteins and that decreased GCS activity results in a decrease in hepatic glutathione content. Thus, in addition to the phase I drug-metabolizing enzymes known to be decreased during the acute-phase response, some phase II enzymes involved in the elimination of xenobiotics and carcinogens are also decreased.