Endogenous oxidized cholesterols are potent atherogenic agents. Therefore, the antioxidative effects of green tea catechins (GTC) against cholesterol oxidation were examined in an in vitro lipoprotein oxidation system. The antioxidative potency of GTC against copper catalyzed LDL oxidation was in the decreasing order (-)-epigalocatechin gallate (EGCG)=(-)-epicatechin gallate (ECG)>(-)-epicatechin (EC)=(+)-catechin (C)>(-)-epigallocatechin (EGC). Reflecting these activities, both EGCG (74%) and ECG (70%) inhibited the formation of oxidized cholesterol, as well as the decrease of linoleic and arachidonic acids, in copper catalyzed LDL oxidation. The formation of oxidized cholesterol in 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) hydrochloride (AAPH)-mediated oxidation of rat plasma was also inhibited when the rats were given diets containing 0.5% ECG or EGCG. In addition, EGCG and ECG highly inhibited oxygen consumption and formation of conjugated dienes in AAPH-mediated linoleic acid peroxidative reaction. These two species of catechin also markedly lowered the generation of hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion. Thus, GTC, especially ECG and EGCG, seem to inhibit cholesterol oxidation in LDL by combination of interference with PUFA oxidation, the reduction and scavenging of copper ion, hydroxyl radical generated from peroxidation of PUFA and superoxide anion.