Interspecies variability of propylene glycol dinitrate (PGDN)-induced methemoglobin formation was studied in vitro employing erythrocytes from four separate species. The net rate of methemoglobin formation was significantly different among species with dog greater than guinea pig greater than rat greater than or equal to human. This order of susceptibility was maintained in stroma-free hemolysates, indicating that interspecies variability was not a reflection of differences in red cell membrane permeability or intracellular transport of PGDN. The erythrocytic enzymes, catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, methemoglobin reductase, and glutathione-S-transferase, were assayed by adaptation of existing methods to a centrifugal analyzer. The above enzymes were removed from hemoglobin derived from each species and the order of susceptibility to PGDN-induced methemoglobin formation remained essentially the same with dog greater than guinea pig greater than human = rat. However, the net rate of PGDN-mediated oxidation of hemoglobin to methemoglobin increased in purified hemoglobin preparations from each species. These results demonstrate that there is species variability in the net rate of PGDN-mediated methemoglobin formation. Total enzyme activity in erythrocytes may contribute to reduction in the net rate of methemoglobin formation. However, the primary determinant of the net rate of methemoglobin formation induced by PGDN appears to be the structure of each hemoglobin molecule.