Protective effects of an aged garlic extract on the cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin (DOX) was evaluated using the mouse. DOX (1.5 mg/kg body wt i.p.) was administered three times per week for 40 days. An aged garlic extract, WG-1 (a preserved stock solution; Wakunaga Pharmaceutical) was administered intraperitoneally six times weekly. DOX caused changes in the electrocardiogram. In the control mice, the width of the QRS complex was 20 +/- 2.8 milliseconds, the R-R interval was 130 +/- 2.8 milliseconds, and the P-Q interval was 30 +/- 1.4 milliseconds. In mice treated with DOX for 40 days, the width of the QRS complex was 50 +/- 10 milliseconds (p < 0.05), the R-R interval was 240 +/- 30 milliseconds (p < 0.05), and the P-Q interval was 45 +/- 1.0 milliseconds (p < 0.01). These values were significantly smaller in mice treated with WG-1 + DOX than in mice treated with DOX. The width of the QRS complex was 29.3 +/- 5.8 milliseconds (p < 0.05), the R-R interval was 145.8 +/- 17.9 milliseconds (p < 0.01), and the P-Q interval was 37.8 +/- 3.5 milliseconds (p < 0.05). The lipid peroxidation in the heart homogenates prepared from DOX-treated mice, as measured by thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance (TBARS, nmol malondialdehyde/100 mg protein) was 332.5 +/- 67.0, which was significantly larger than that in the control mice (186.6 +/- 42.2) (p < 0.05). WG-1 decreased the level of TBARS in DOX-treated mice significantly. In the mice treated with WG-1 + DOX, TBARS was 221.3 +/- 31.6, which was significantly smaller than that of DOX-treated mice (p < 0.05). Histological study demonstrated that the heart treated with DOX had vacuolization in muscle cells, disrupted myofibrils, and swollen mitochondria. Mice that received WG-1 + DOX had no significant pathological lesions in the heart.