1,4-Dihydroisonicotinic acid derivatives (1,4-DHINA) are compounds closely related to derivatives of 1,4-dihydropyridine, a well-known calcium channel antagonists. 1,4-DHINA we used were derived from a well-known antioxidant Diludin. Although some compounds have neuromodulatory or antimutagenic properties, their activity mechanisms are not well known. This study was performed to obtain data on antioxidant and bioprotective activities of: 2,6-dimethyl-3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydroisonicotinic acid (Ia); sodium 2-(2,6-dimethyl-3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydropyridine-4-carboxamido)glutamate (Ib) and sodium 2-(2,6-dimethyl-3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydropyridine-4-carboxamido)ethane-sulphate (Ic). 1,4-DHINA's activities were studied in comparison to Trolox by: N,N-Diphenyl-N'-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH*), deoxyribose degradation, 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS) radical scavenging and antioxidative capacity assays; copper-induced lipid peroxidation of cultured rat liver cells (malondialdehyde determination by high performance liquid chromatography and 4-hydroxynonenal-protein conjugates by dot-blot); (3)H-thymidine incorporation and trypan blue assay for liver cells growth and viability. In all assays used Ia was the most potent antioxidant. Ia was also a potent antioxidant at non-toxic concentrations for liver cell cultures. It completely abolished, while Ic only slightly decreased copper-induced lipid peroxidation of liver cells. Thus, antioxidant capacities are important activity principle of Ia, which was even superior to Trolox in the cell cultures used, while activity principles of Ic and Ib remain yet to be determined.