Summary Glutathione (GSH) plays several important roles in the protection of cells against oxidative damage, particularly following exposure to xenobiotics. Ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA) is a potent depletor of GSH and also enhances tissue lipid peroxidation. In this study, we show the effect of Fe-NTA treatment on hepatic GSH and some of the glutathione metabolizing enzymes, oxidant generation and liver damage. The level of hepatic GSH and the activities of glutathione reductase, glutathione $-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase all decrease following Fe-NTA administration. In these parameters the maximum decrease occurred at 12 h following Fe-NTA treatment. In contrast, y-glutamyl transpeptidase was increased at this time. Not surprisingly, the increase in the activity of y-glutamyl transpeptidase and decreases in GSH, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and glutathione S-transferase were found to be dependent on the dose of Fe-NTA administered. Fe-NTA administration also enhances the production of Hp2 and increases hepatic lipid peroxidation. Parallel ttJ these changes, Fe-NTA enhances liver damage as evidenced by increases in serum transaminases. Once again, the liver damage is dependent on the dose of Fe-NTA and is maximal at 12 h. Pretreatment of animals with antioxidant, butylated hydroxy anisole (BHA), protects against Fe-NTA-mediated hepatotoxicity further supporting the involvement of oxidative stress in Fe-NTA-mediated hepatic damage. In aggregate, our results indicate that Fe-NTA administration eventuates in decreased hepatic GSH, a fall in the activities of glutathione metabolizing enzymes and excessive production of oxidants, all of which are involved in the cascade of events leading to iron-mediated hepatic injury.