Trimethyltin (TMT) is a limbic-system toxicant which also produces sensory dysfunction in adult animals. In the present experiment, the authors examined the effects of TMT on the acoustic startle response. Adult male, Long-Evans rats (N=12/dose) received a single i.p. injection of either 0, 4.0, 5.0 or 6.0 mg/kg TMT hydroxide as the base. The number of responses, latency and peak amplitude of the startle response to a 13 kHz, 120 dB tone were measured 2 h, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks after dosing. For each test session, 10 stimuli were presented at each of three background noise levels (50, 65 and 80 dB). By 2 h after dosing, the number of response and response amplitude were decreased following 4.0-6.0 mg/kg TMT; these treatment effects persisted through 4 weeks after dosing. Increases in latency were also seen following all dosages of TMT. These data suggest that TMT produces disruption of function within the acoustic-startle pathway.