Magnesium (Mg) deficiency has been shown to produce myocardial lesions in different experimental models. Based on several lines of evidence, it has been proposed that oxidative injury to the cardiac muscle may explain the pathobiology of such lesions. In pursuance of this postulation, the present study examined the effect of dietary deficiency of Mg on the activity of the antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, in rat heart. This article reports a significant lowering of the activity of both these enzymes in the cardiac tissue in Mg-deficient rats. Since depressed antioxidant defense in the heart may enhance myocardial susceptibility to oxidative injury, the observation is of possible relevance to the pathogenesis of cardiac lesions in Mg deficiency.