The present research investigates the occurrence of hyaline droplet (HD) accumulation related to age, dose and time after treatment in male Wistar rats given a single i.p. injection of hexachloro-1:3-butadiene (HCBD). In the study on age, rats from 1 to 12 months of age were treated with 100 mg kg−1 body weight (b.w.) HCBD dose. Rats treated at 2 months of age showed a greater accumulation of HD than the other age groups; HD accumulation was not observed in 1-month-old rats. In the dose–response study, the treatment with 25, 50 and 100 mg kg−1 b.w. at 2 months of age caused HD accumulation in the proximal convoluted tubule at all doses, with the 100 mg kg−1 b.w. group slightly more affected. Finally, in the time-course study, rats treated with a 100 mg kg−1 b.w. dose at 2 months of age and sacrificed at 6, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h post-dosing showed a time-related HD accumulation in terms of incidence and severity, after 6 h, with a peak at 24 and 48 h and decreasing at 72 and 96 h. The present results show that HD accumulation is an early finding, and is unrelated to dose level and particularly evident in rats of 2 month of age. These findings in male rats treated with HCBD emphasize the importance of considering the age of rats at the start of a study. The more sensitive model was used in the detection of nephrotoxic effects of chemicals. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.