Silybin has been complexed in 1:1 ratio with phosphatidyl choline to give IdB 1016 in order to increase its bioavailability. The antioxidant and free radical scavenger action of this new form of silybin has been evaluated. One hour after the intragastric administration to rats of IdB 1016 (1.5 g/kg b.wt.) the concentration of silybin in the liver microsomes was estimated to be around 2.5 micrograms/mg protein corresponding to a final concentration in the microsomal suspension used of about 10 microM. At these levels IdB decreased by about 40% the lipid peroxidation induced in microsomes by NADPH, CCl4 and cumene hydroperoxide, probably by acting on lipid derived radicals. Spin trapping experiments showed, in fact, that the complexed form of silybin was able to scavenge lipid dienyl radicals generated in the microsomal membranes. In addition, IdB 1016 was also found to interact with free radical intermediates produced during the metabolic activation of carbon tetrachloride and methylhydrazine. These effects indicate IdB 1016 as a potentially protective agent against free radical-mediated toxic damage.