The application of gene expression profiling technology to examine multiple genes and signaling pathways simultaneously promises a significant advance in understanding toxic mechanisms to ultimately aid in protection of public health. Public and private efforts in the new field of toxicogenomics are focused on populating databases with gene expression profiles of compounds where toxicological and pathological endpoints are well characterized. The validity and utility of a toxicogenomics is dependent on whether gene expression profiles that correspond to different chemicals can be distinguished. The principal hypothesis underlying a toxicogenomic or pharmacogenomic strategy is that chemical-specific patterns of altered gene expression will be revealed using high-density microarray analysis of tissues from exposed organisms. Analyses of these patterns should allow classification of toxicants and provide important mechanistic insights. This report provides a verification of this hypothesis. Patterns of gene expression corresponding to liver tissue derived from chemically exposed rats revealed similarity in gene expression profiles between animals treated with different agents from a common class of compounds, peroxisome proliferators [clofibrate (ethyl-p-chlorophenoxyisobutyrate), Wyeth 14,643 ([4-chloro-6(2,3-xylidino)-2-pyrimidinylthio]acetic acid), and gemfibrozil (5-2[2,5-dimethylphenoxy]2-2-dimethylpentanoic acid)], but a very distinct gene expression profile was produced using a compound from another class, enzyme inducers (phenobarbital).