Oxygen metabolites formed during reperfusion of ischemic kidneys prevent recovery of renal function after short periods of renal ischemia. The administration of ATP-MgCl2 is beneficial to the survival of animals after hemorrhagic shock, severe burns, septicemia-peritonitis, post-ischemic hepatic failure, bowel ischemia, and endotoxic shock. In this study, the effect of ATP-MgCl2 on lipid peroxidation and its curative effect were evaluated by measuring the decomposition products of lipid peroxidation, detected as thiobarbituric-acid reactive substances in homogenized kidney tissues in ischemic and reperfused rabbit kidneys. Ischemia was performed by clamping the right renal artery for 60 minutes followed by 30 minutes of reperfusion. Thirty-six rabbits were classified into 6 groups containing 6 rabbits in each. In the first group, no renal ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) was designed (Sham group), the right kidney was removed 90 minutes later. In the second group, I-R was established but nothing given. Saline 0.25 cc/kg was given into the right renal artery in group 3 two minutes before ischemia, and in group 4 two minutes before reperfusion. ATP-MgCl2 17.5 mu mol/kg (0.25 cc/kg) was given two minutes before ischemia in group 5, and before reperfusion in group 6. The right kidneys of the rabbits were removed and thiobarbituric-acid reactive substances in the homogenates were measured. In addition, histopathological evaluation was performed. High lipid peroxidation products were recorded in groups 2-5, whereas in group 6, these levels were low similar to those obtained in Sham group (76.72 +/- 1.01 nmol/g tissue). On histopathological evaluation, a considerable cell damage resulting from I-R trauma especially in proximal; tubules was observed. In groups which were under saline effect, no histopathological damage was found. Histophatological preservation was better in group 6 rather than in group 5. The results of this study indicate that ATP-MgCl2 is remarkably effective for preventing the lipid peroxidation if given before reperfusion but not before ischemia in experimental I-R injury in rabbit kidneys.