Rat liver mitochondria form lipid hydroperoxides when they are incubated aerobically with cumene hydroperoxide. The rate of reaction is dependent on the initial concentration of the latter and involves the consumption of oxygen. Gradient-separated and cytochrome c-depleted mitochondria, mitoplasts and submitochondrial fractions also undergo this peroxidation. Mitochondrial lipid peroxidation by cumene hydroperoxide is strongly inhibited by SKF52A (an inhibitor of cytochrome P-450), by antioxidants and to a lesser extent by the enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase. Conversely, rotenone and N-ethylmaleimide stimulate the reaction. Succinate protects against the lipid peroxidation and in some mitochondrial fractions the associated oxygen uptake is also inhibited. This protection by succinate is prevented by malonate but not by N-ethylmaleimide or antimycin. Lipid hydroperoxides present in previously peroxidised mitochondria are partly lost on reincubation with succinate and this reaction is also unaffected by N-ethylmaleimide but inhibited by both malonate and antimycin. The results suggest that reduction of mitochondrial ubiquinone may prevent the generation of lipid hydroperoxides but that their subsequent removal may require reduction at or beyond cytochrome b.