Male and female rats were dosed once a day for 2 days with injections of 1.5 mg Cd/kg. Formation of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBA-RS) was significantly increased in male rat liver but not in the females. NADPH-dependent lipid peroxidation in vitro in microsomes derived from untreated rat liver was greater in males than in females. Furthermore, addition of cadmium (Cd) to microsomes isolated from male rat liver produced a dose-dependent potentiation of NADPH-dependent lipid peroxidation from low concentrations of CD. In microsomes derived from females a significant increase in lipid peroxidation was observed only at high Cd concentrations. NADPH-dependent lipid peroxidation enhanced by Cd was greater in the males than in the females. These data suggest that a sex-related difference in the ability of Cd to induce lipid peroxidation in vivo in rat liver appears to be mediated partly through differences in hepatic microsomal NADPH-dependent lipid peroxidation.