The contribution of free radical damage to aging in the liver and brain is still controversial. There have also been several reports with conflicting results on the antioxidant system during aging. In this study, we investigated endogenous lipid peroxide levels in the liver and brain tissues of rats aged 6 and 22 months together with ascorbate-induced lipid peroxidation. Also, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), the main antioxidant enzymes were assayed. Although ascorbate-induced lipid peroxide levels remained unchanged in aged animals, hepatic lipid peroxidation was seen to be elevated. Glutathione (GSH) content was found to be decreased, but SOD and GPx remained unchanged. No apparent difference in any parameter in brain tissues was observed in the old group. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.