The protection against ethanol-induced lipid peroxidation is rendered by antioxidants such as vitamin E and glutathione (GSH) interacting with each other and also functioning independently. A study of the levels of GSH and activities of glutathione peroxidase (GP), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione transferase (GST) in the cerebral cortex (CC), cerebellum (CB) and brain stem (BS) of vitamin E-supplemented and -deficient rats subjected to ethanol administration for 30 days was carried out. Chronic ethanol administration to vitamin E-supplemented rats elevated GP, GR and GST activities in the three regions and GSH levels in the CB. Chronic ethanol administration to vitamin E-deficient rats elevated GR activity in the three regions and GP activity in the CC and CB, decreased GST activity in the CC and CB, but did not alter GSH levels compared with normal rats subjected to chronic ethanol administration. The results indicate that vitamin E helps to maintain GSH levels to combat increased peroxidation while its absence has a deleterious effect.