The arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR) plays a central role in mediating 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) toxicity in animals. The investigations described here provide evidence that support a role for the AhR in TCDD-mediated pyruvate carboxylase (PC) level/activity reductions in mice. Pyruvate carboxylase plays a pivotal role in gluconeogenesis and in supplying carbon units for the citric acid cycle. Delivered ip in a corn oil carrier, TCDD suppresses PC activity/amount at doses as low as 1 microgram/kg in responsive C57BL/6J(Ahb/b) mice. Corn oil alone injected ip into mice at 4 mL/kg appears to be an inducer that increases the amount and activity of PC. However, TCDD suppresses this induction. In the Ahb/b mouse, PC levels and activity are reduced to 10% of control values at a dose of 75 micrograms/kg. A time-course experiment shows that the PC reductions are apparent within 16 hours post-TCDD exposure. Here we report investigations on the PC/TCDD response using a congenic C57BL/6J(Ahd/d) mouse strain having an AhR with a low affinity for TCDD. If the PC/TCDD response is AhR mediated, the congenic mouse strain (Ahd/d) would require much higher doses of TCDD to suppress PC. In the Ahd/d mice, we observe that an approximately 60-fold increase in TCDD dose is necessary to produce a PC/TCDD effect. We also find that in Ahd/d mice, corn oil does not induce an increase in PC activity/amounts, as reported for Ahb/b mice.