Abstract Erythrocyte and hepatocyte plasma membranes derived from CCl 4-cirrhotic and bile duct lagated rats were studied. Six groups of animals were used: Group 1 received CCl 4 for 8 weeks. Animals in group 2 received CCl 4 for 12 weeks. Group 3 consisted in animals that received CCl 4 for 8 weeks and then only vehicle for 4 weeks more. Group 4 was the control which received only vehicle. In group 5, obstructive jaundice was induced by bile duct ligation (BDL); animals in group 6 were operated without ligation of the bile duct (sham operated). The activity of Na +/K + and Ca 2+ dependent ATPases, as well as the cholesterol/phospholipid ratio (CH/PL) were determined in both, erythrocyte and hepatocyte plasma membranes. In the CCl 4 groups, Na +/K + and Ca 2+-ATPases activity was decreased about 60–70% while the CH/PL ratio was increased significatively in both, erythrocyte and hepatocyte plasma membranes. Discontinuation of CCl 4 treatment reverted the enzymatic and lipidic alterations to normal in both cell types. ATPases activity and CH/PL ratio in erythrocyte resembled to those of hepatocytes in BDL rats. A strong correlation (p < 0.005) was found when erythrocyte ATPases activity and CH/PL ratio were compared with those of hepatocytes. Moreover, histopathological analysis of liver sections correlated well with both, erythrocyte and hepatocyte biochemical findings. We concluded that determination of ATPases activity and CH/PL ratio in erythrocyte membranes could be a simple, safe and useful marker of cell liver damage in CCl 4-induced liver cirrhosis and biliary obstruction in the rat.