Free radicals are involved in the pathogenesis of acute liver injury induced by thioacetamide (TAA). We investigated the effects of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) combined with/without vitamins C and E on TAA-induced acute liver injury in rats. TAA was given intraperitoneally (200 mg kg-1). Antioxidant treatments (SAMe, 25 mg kg-1; vitamin C, 100 mg kg-1; vitamin E, 200 mg kg-1, intraperitoneal) were given 1 h later. Liver histology, enzymology, and ability to release hepatic insulin-sensitizing substance (HISS) were assessed. TAA caused liver tissue injury, increased liver enzymes, and decreased insulin sensitivity (p<0.01). Blockade of HISS release by atropine did not further decrease insulin sensitivity in rats with TAA insult, indicating that the decrease in insulin sensitivity was HISS dependent. Treatment with SAMe alone or vitamins C+E slightly improved liver histology but not the changes in liver enzymes and insulin sensitivity. Combined treatment with SAMe plus vitamins C+E greatly protected the liver from tissue injury, the increase in liver enzymes, and the decrease in insulin sensitivity. In conclusion, acute liver injury causes HISS-dependent insulin resistance (HDIR). There are synergistic antioxidative effects among the antioxidants, SAMe and vitamins C and E, that protect the liver from TAA-induced HDIR, suggesting that antioxidant treatment may best be done using a balanced "cocktail."