Effect of cadmium treatment on brain lipids, lipid peroxidation and distribution of Zn, Cu and Fe in rat brain regions was investigated. Adult male rats were exposed to Cd (100 ppm Cd as cadmium acetate) in drinking water for 30 days. The Cd exposure resulted in a significant decrease in the phospholipid content and an increase in the lipid peroxidation in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. The total lipid content was not affected in any of the regions but a significant decrease in cholesterol and cerebroside contents were observed only in the cerebral cortex. A positive correlation between the increase in lipid peroxidation and decrease in the phospholipid content in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum was observed. A maximum accumulation of Cd occurred in the cerebral cortex. The Cu and Fe contents were significantly increased but the Zn levels decreased in the Cd-treated rats in all but the midbrain region. Results suggest that the increased peroxidation decomposition of structural lipids and the altered distribution of the essential trace metals in brain may play a significant role in Cd-induced neurotoxicity. 27 references, 2 tables.