Fluoride is a strong, hard anion and cumulative toxic agent. The effect of fluoride intoxication on lipid peroxidation in endometrial tissue and the protective effects of combinations of vitamins E and C in rats were studied. Additionally, the apoptotic changes in er dometrial tissue were examined. Experimental groups were as follows: control group; a group treated with 100 mg/l fluoride (F group); and a group treated with 100 mg/l fluoride plus vitamins E and C (F + Vit group). The F and F + Vit groups were treated orally with fluoride for 30 days. Vitamins E and C were injected simultaneously at doses of 50 mg/kg day i.m. and 20 mg/kg day body weight i.p. Extensive formation of DNA strand breaks, the typical biochemical feature of apoptosis, was detected with the use of the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP-biotin nick and labeling (TUNEL) method. Malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were determined in uterine tissue of rats. Fluoride caused a significant increase in NIDA levels (an important marker of lipid peroxidation) in the fluoride group compared with the controls (p < 0.05). Vitamins E and C significantly reduced the fluoride-induced lipid peroxidation in the F + Vit group compared with the F group (p < 0.05). Diffuse apoptosis in glandular epithelium and stromal cells was found in endometrial tissues of F treated rats by TUNEL method. The severity of these lesions was reduced by the administration of vitamins. From these results, it can be concluded that subchronic fluoride administration causes endometrial apoptosis, and lipid peroxidation may be a molecular mechanism involved in fluoride-induced toxicity. Furthermore, treatment with a combination of vitamins E and C reduced endometrial apoptosis caused by fluoride. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.