Abstract In the present investigation alterations in the free radical generating and scavenging enzymes in platelets, neutrophils (PMNLs), heart and lung homogenates following rat pulmonary thromboembolism have been studied. Thrombosis was induced by intravenous infusion of collagen and adrenaline. Levels of malonaldehyde (MDA) were elevated in the PMNLs after thrombosis. Activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were found to increase in platelets and PMNLs respectively. However, there was no significant alteration in the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), lysozyme (LYS), ratio of xanthine oxidase to dehydrogenase (XO/XH) and PMNLs O 2 − generation before and after thrombosis. Migration of PMNLs following thrombosis was indicated by increased activity of myeloperoxidase (MPO) in the heart. In addition, pretreatment with allopurinol, a xanthine oxidase inhibitor and indomethacin, a cyclooxygenase inhibitor offered protection against thromboembolism induced death/paralysis. Results suggest the involvement of free radicals in thrombosis.