Abstract 15 min cold exposure of rats adapted to cold results in switching on a pathway of the fast oxidation of extramitochondrial NADH in the isolated liver mitochondria. This pathway is sensitive to mersalyl and cyanide, resistant to amytal and antimycin A, and can be stimulated by dinitrophenol. A portion of the endogenous cytochrome c pool can easily be removed by washing mitochondria of the cold-exposed rats. A scheme is discussed, postulating desorption of the inner membrane-bound cytochrome c into intermembrane space of mitochondria, resulting in formation of a link between the non-phosophorylating NADH-cytochrome c reductase in the outer mitochondrial membrane and cytochrome c oxidase in the inner membrane. It is suggested that such an oxidative pathway is involved in the urgent heat production in liver in response to the cold treatment.