Diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) that bind to aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AhRs) and decrease sperm production. Since it is not clear if AhR mediates DEP toxicity, we investigated the effect of DEPs in four strains of mice that have different AhR responsiveness. We treated BALB/c, C57BL/6, ICR and DBA/2 mice with DEP suspensions and compared their toxicity in each strain. In both the vehicle- and DEP-treated groups, ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity, as an indirect index of AhR activity, was increased in the order of BALB/c > C57BL/6 > ICR > DBA/2. Only BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice had significantly lower daily sperm production (DSP) than vehicle-treated mice. All strains exhibited increased sperm abnormalities. In particular, the C57BL/6, ICR and DBA/2 mice exhibited significantly increased abnormalities. A significant correlation was found between EROD activity and DSP or incidence of morphologically abnormal sperm. These data suggest that DEP toxicity may affect the male reproductive system in an AhR-dependent manner.