Oxidative stress is believed to contribute to the pathogenesis of hypercholesterolaemic atherosclerosis; hence, various antioxidant compounds are being evaluated for potential anti-atherogenic effects. The present study assessed the efficacy of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant component of the plant Camellia sinensis, in improving serum lipid profile and antioxidant parameters in erythrocytes and cardiac tissue in rats fed an atherogenic diet. In male albino Wistar rats fed an atherogenic diet for 30 days, significantly increased serum levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoprotein cholesterol fractions and cardiac risk ratio were noted, compared with levels in rats fed a normal diet. Intraperitoneal administration of EGCG (100 mg/kg) for 7 or 15 days to the atherogenic diet-fed rats resulted in significantly lower serum levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol fractions and a significantly higher serum level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared with levels in atherogenic diet-fed, saline-treated rats. Significantly higher mean malondialdehyde levels and significantly lower mean activities of antioxidant enzymes and mean levels of non-enzymatic antioxidants occurred in atherogenic diet-fed rats compared with those fed a normal diet. When atherogenic diet-fed rats received EGCG treatment for 7 or 15 days, significantly lower mean levels of MDA, higher mean levels of non-enzymatic antioxidants and higher mean activities of enzymatic antioxidants occurred, compared with those in saline-treated rats. Thus, EGCG appears to ameliorate disruptions of serum lipid profile and of antioxidant parameters in erythrocyte and cardiac tissue of Wistar rats fed an atherogenic diet; these results may be relevant to treating human atherosclerosis.