Increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the mitochondrion has been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous liver diseases. However, the exact sites of ROS production within liver mitochondria and the electron transport chain are still uncertain. To determine the sites of ROS generation in liver mitochondria we evaluated the ability of a variety of mitochondrial respiratory inhibitors to alter the steady state levels of ROS generated within the intact hepatocyte and in isolated mitochondria. Treatment with myxothiazol alone at concentrations that significantly inhibit respiration dramatically increased the steady-state levels of ROS in hepatocytes. Similar results were also observed in isolated mitochondria oxidizing succinate. Coincubation with antimycin or rotenone had no effect on myxothiazol-induced ROS levels. Myxothiazol stimulation of ROS was mitochondrial in origin as demonstrated by the colocalization of MitoTracker Red and dichlorofluorescein staining using confocal microscopy. Furthermore, diphenyliodonium, an inhibitor that blocks electron flow through the flavin mononucleotide of mitochondrial complex I and other flavoenzymes, significantly attenuated the myxothiazol-induced increase in hepatocyte ROS levels. Together, these data suggest that in addition to the ubiquinone-cytochrome bc1 complex of complex III, several of the flavin-containing enzymes or iron-sulfur centers within the mitochondrial electron transport chain should also be considered sites of superoxide generation in liver mitochondria. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.