The protective effect of catechins, major components of green tea, was studied in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells exposed to toxicity induced by linoleic acid hydroperoxide (LOOH). In the case where cells were incubated in medium containing both LOOH and catechins, (+)-catechin (C) was effective in suppressing of LOOH-induced cytotoxicity, but (-)-epicatechin (EC), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), (-)-epicatechin gallate (ECG), and (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) had no effect. EGCG monoglucoside (EGCG-G1) and EGCG diglucoside (EGCG-G2), apophilic derivatives of EGCG, show a protective effect on LOOH-induced cytotoxicity when present at the time of treatment with LOOH. On the other hand, when cells were incubated with catechins for 24 h before treatment with LOOH there was no protection against the oxidative damage by LOOH. Furthermore, the interaction between catechins and alpha-tocopherol was examined under these culture conditions. C showed a synergistic effect with alpha-tocopherol in protecting against LOOH-induced damage. These results suggest that catechins interact with LOOH present in the medium or near the surface of membranes, but not with LOOH incorporated into cellular membranes and that catechins are able to interact with alpha-tocopherol to provide synergistic protection against the cytotoxicity of LOOH.