The aim of this experimental study was to investigate the effects of erdosteine, an antioxidant agent, on doxorubicin (DXR)-induced cardio-toxicity through nitric oxide (NO) levels, collagen synthesis, xanthine oxidase (XO) and adenosine deaminase (ADA) activities in rats. Rats were treated with erdosteine (10 mg/kg b.wt. per day, orally) or saline starting 2 days before administrating a single dose of DXR (20 mg/kg i.p.) or saline. At the 10th day of the DXR administration, hearts were removed under anesthesia for biochemical measurements. Enzyme activities as well as OH-proline and NO levels were found to be significantly increased in DXR group compared with the control group. All of the parameters studied except ADA activity were decreased significantly approximating to the control levels upon erdosteine administration. In conclusion, erdosteine seems to be an alternative agent for protection of cardiac tissue against DXR-induced cardio-toxicity through its regulatory effect on XO activity and NO level. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.