Repletion of depleted cellular reduced glutathione (GSH) levels in oxidative stress and exposure to arylating agents is a strategy for the development of antidotes to chemical toxicity. The effect of GSH, reduced glutathione ethyl monoester (GSHEt), and reduced glutathione ethyl diester (GSHEt2) on the cytotoxicity of hydrogen peroxide, 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB), and menadione to P388D1 macrophages in vitro was investigated. The median toxic concentration TC50 values of the toxicants were hydrogen peroxide 24 ± 2 mM (N = 19), CDNB 63 ± 6 μM (N = 18), and menadione 30 ± 4 μM (N = 22). Reduced glutathione, GSHEt, and GSHEt2 were poor antidotes to hydrogen peroxide toxicity. Indeed, the observed antidote effects were attributed to the nonenzymatic reaction of the GSH derivatives with hydrogen peroxide in the extracellular medium. Reduced glutathione ethyl diester was a more potent antidote of CDNB- and menadione-mediated toxicity than GSHEt and GSH. For cell incubations with the approximate median toxic concentration TC50 values of hydrogen peroxide, CDNB, and menadione, the respective median effective antidote concentration EC50 values were GSHEt 23.8 ± 4.1 mM (N = 9), 3.6 ± 0.6 mM (N = 11), and 226 ± 93 μM (N = 12); and GSHEt2 20.4 ± 1.9 mM (N = 6), 603 ± 2 μM (N = 9), and 7.6 ± 2.3 μM (N = 12). Reduced glutathione ethyl diester was a potent antidote to CDNB- and menadione-induced toxicities but not to hydrogen peroxide-induced toxicity under acute intoxication conditions. © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.