The redox status and steroid metabolism of liver of adult male rat exposed to lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) either alone or in co-exposure (0.025 mg/kg body weight intraperitoneally/15 days) was studied. Pb and Cd significantly accumulated in the liver. The activity of steroid metabolizing enzymes 17-betahydroxysteroid oxidoreductase and uridine diphosphate-glucuronyltransferase were decreased in experimental animals. 17-beta-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase was reduced to 33%, 38%, and 24% on treatment of Pb, Cd, and co-exposure (Pb + Cd). Furthermore, the activity of uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase was significantly reduced to 27% (Pb exposure), 36% (Cd exposure), and 25% (co-exposure of Pb + Cd). Cd exposure exhibited more toxic effect than Pb, while co-exposure demonstrated the least. The activities of antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione reductase, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase decreased and glutathione peroxidase increased in mitochondrial and post-mitochondrial fractions. The level of lipid peroxidation increased, and cellular glutathione concentration decreased. Hepatic DNA was decreased, whereas RNA content and the activity of alanine transaminase remained unchanged. Histological studies revealed that only Cd-exposed groups exhibited cytotoxic effect. These results suggest that when Pb and Cd are present together in similar concentrations, they exhibited relatively decreased toxic effect when compared to lead and cadmium in isolation with regard to decreased steroid metabolizing and antioxidant enzyme activities. This seems that the toxic effect of these metals is antagonized by co-exposure due to possible competition amongst Pb and Cd for hepatic accumulation.