Enzyme-dependent and non-enzymatic in vitro lipid peroxidation was studied in autoimmune prone B/W mice fed diets containing high levels of dietary corn oil (CO) or menhaden fish oil (FO) as lipid source since weaning. Lipid analysis revealed that FO-fed mouse liver mitochondrial and microsomal membrane fractions incorporated 20:5 omega 3 and 22:6 omega 3 in replacement of 18:2 omega 6 and 20:4 omega 6 found in corn oil (CO) fed control animals reflecting the composition of the dietary oils. Lower concentrations of vitamin E were found in the FO-fed mouse membranes and serum than those of CO-fed mice when diets were supplemented with a standard 75 I.U. alpha-tocopheryl acetate/kg diet. The rate and extent of membrane lipid peroxidation was greatly increased in FO-fed, vitamin-E-depleted membranes. Full repletion of membrane vitamin E levels by supplementation with 500 I.U./kg of FO diet for 30 days significantly decreased lipid peroxidation and showed that in FO-fed mice, membrane peroxidation is inversely proportional to vitamin E content. However, due to a lower ratio of vitamin E and highly unsaturated fatty acids, FO-fed mouse membranes were more sensitive to pro-oxidant stimulus than were those from CO-fed mice. These findings illustrate the action of vitamin E against membrane lipid peroxidation and stress the importance of adequate supplementation of antioxidant with high omega-3 fatty acids intake.