Cytotoxic effects of ionizing radiation on gastrointestinal epithelium may be related to oxidative stress. In this study, we wanted to investigate the effects of selenium, vitamin E and selenium plus vitamin E pretreatments prior to whole abdominal irradiation on intestinal injury. Irradiation caused increased lipid peroxide and decreased GSH levels in the intestine. Intestinal superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities were increased, but glutathione transferase activity decreased following irradiation. Selenium and/or vitamin E pretreatments ameliorated these disturbances in prooxidant-antioxidant balance. This amelioriation has been verified with histopathological findings. These results indicate that antioxidant pretreatments prior to irradiation may have some beneficial effects against irradiation-induced intestinal injury.