The influence of auto-oxidized phospholipids on the reduction of the tetrazolium salt MTT coupled to the NAD+-dependent lactate dehydrogenase reaction was studied. The following results were obtained: (1) peroxidized phosphatidylcholine interfered in the time-course of the lactate dehydrogenase-mediated MTT reduction; (2) there was a time-dependent decrease in the hydroperoxide content of phosphatidylcholine vesicles during the incubation; (3) the diminution of phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxides required the presence of all the components of the system except MTT; (4) hydroperoxide diminution and MTT reduction were mediated by the superoxide radical O2-, since both processes were inhibited by superoxide dismutase; (5) EDTA inhibited the hydroperoxide decrease and abolished the interference of peroxidized phosphatidylcholine with MTT reduction. It was concluded that hydroperoxides compete with MTT for the electrons coming from substrate oxidation. The superoxide radical O2- and traces of some contaminating metal ion are involved in the process. This is a potential complication in the study of the effect of lipids on enzymatic activities assayed by the tetrazolium salt method.