Abstract Low concentrations of HPE and MLA inhibited state 3 respiration of rat liver mitochondria in the presence of different NAD +-dependent substrates. MLA appeared to be more active than HPE. High aldehyde concentrations inhibited the state 3 respiration with succinate. The restraint of succinate oxidation by HPE and MLA and of glutamate plus malate oxidation by MLA correlated with the inhibition of succinate and glutamate dehydrogenase activites, respectively. HPE inhibited glutamate dehydrogenase at concentrations higher than those affecting glutamate oxidation. Malate dehydrogenase activity was slightly sensitive to HPE and MLA. Both aldehydes inhibited NADH oxidation by freeze-thawed mitochondria. These results suggest the existence of a site particularly sensitive to aldehydes in the electron transport chain between the specific NAD +-linked dehydrogenases and ubiquinone.