The accumulation of Ca2+ by rat liver mitochondria in the presence of Pi results in spontaneous activation of respiration, accompanied by progressive loss of the accumulated cation. The lipid peroxidation inhibitor, butylated hydroxytoluene, completely prevents and reverses the loss of accumulated Ca2+ and restores respiration to the state 4 level, but exerts no effect on the rate of Ca2+ accumulation and respiration in the presence of the uncoupler. The strong inhibition by butylated hydroxytoluene of ruthenium red-insensitive Ca2+ efflux has also been observed. No correlation between the BHT-sensitive Ca2+ loss and the formation of malonic dialdehyde in mitochondria has been found. The data obtained suggest that the Ca2+-induced uncoupling of mitochondria is mainly due to the appearance of electrogenic ion fluxes that are controlled by the initial steps of lipid peroxidation.