Sesamin was orally administered to rats, and blood, bile and urine were collected periodically. Over 40% of the dose of sesamin was detected in bile as glucuronides of 2-(3, 4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-6-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl)-cis-dioxabicyclo[3.3.0] octane and 2-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl)-6-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl)-cis-dioxabicyclo[3.3.0] octane by 24 hr after administration. Antioxidant activities of these metabolites were compared and catechol metabolites showed strong radical scavenging activities against not only superoxide anion radical but also hydroxyl radical. It was suggested that sesamin was absorbed by the route of portal vein and metabolized to mono- or di-catechol metabolite by drug metabolizing enzymes in the liver cells. Both metabolites exhibited antioxidant activity in the liver and were finally conjugated with glucuronic acid and to excrete in bile. Sesamin can be classified as a pro-antioxidant. The profiles of gene expression of the liver in rats given sesamin or vehicle were compared. The gene expression levels of the late stage enzymes of beta-oxidation including trifunctional enzyme, acyl-CoA oxidase, bifunctional enzyme and 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase were significantly increased by sesamin. On the other hand, the transcription of the genes encoding the enzymes for fatty acid synthesis was decreased. Moreover, in sesamin rats, the gene expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase was increased about 3-fold, whereas alcohol dehydrogenase, liver catalase and CYP2E1 were not changed. These results suggested that sesamin ingestion regulated the transcription levels of hepatic metabolizing enzymes for lipids and alcohol.