Changes in pro-oxidant and antioxidant balance in the serum and liver were studied in an experimental model of obstructive jaundice in the rat. The results showed a decrease in plasma vitamin E concentration (P < 0.01) and a threefold reduction in liver vitamin E concentration (P < 0.001). There was also a threefold reduction in levels of the liver enzymes glutathione peroxidase (P < 0.01) and glutathione transferase (P < 0.001), together with a six-fold reduction in catalase activity (P < 0.001). The serum selenium level decreased by 35% in the jaundiced rats (P < 0.05). The total liver glutathione level decreased to half the control value (P < 0.01). The malonyldialdehyde level, the measure of lipid peroxidation used in this study, doubled (P < 0.01). The results suggest a shift in the pro-oxidant/antioxidant balance in favor of lipid peroxidation. The possible etiology of this change and its relationship to human cholestasis are discussed.