1. Groups of rats were given one dose of the carcinogen dimethylnitrosamine by gastric intubation. The dose was varied between 10mg/kg body wt. and 1 microgram/kg body wt. 2. The dose was rapidly absorbed. 3. The methylation of liver DNA resulting from the administration of this carcinogen was proportional to dose. This suggests that small doses are absorbed from the gut with no more loss than large doses. 4. As the dose was decreased there was a disproportionately greater decrease in the alkylation of kidney DNA, and when the dose was less than 40 microgram/kg body wt. the methylation of kidney DNA was no longer detectable. This possibly explains why small amounts of dimethylnitrosamine in the diet do not induce kidney tumours. 5. Comparison of the relative alkylation of liver DNA and kidney DNA resulting from an oral and from an intravenous dose of dimethylnitrosamine suggest that small amounts of dimethylnitrosamine absorbed into the portal blood from the gut are completely metabolized by the liver and do not enter the general circulation. 6. The implications of these results for the possible hazard of dimethylnitrosamine in human food is discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.