Oxidative stress in heart and brain by the cancer chemotherapeutic drug adriamycin (ADR), used for treating solid tumors, is well established. Long-term treatment with ADR in breast cancer patients has led to symptoms of cardiomyopathy. Less well recognized, but increasingly well documented, is cognitive dysfunction. After chemotherapy, free radical-mediated oxidative stress has been reported in both heart and brain. We recently showed a significant increase in protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation in brain isolated from mice injected intraperitonially (i.p) with ADR. Systemic administration of ADR also induces tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), which leads to production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) in brain. Circulating TNF also causes mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to apoptotic pathways in brain. Inducible nitric oxide synthase also plays a role in ADR-induced TNF-mediated neurotoxicity. In addition, we previously showed a significant decrease in glutathione (GSH) levels in brain isolated from ADR injected mice, along with increased expression of multidrug-resistant protein-1 (MRP-1), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione reductase (GR). There was a significant decrease in activity of brain GST. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that, by elevating brain levels of GSH, the brain would be protected against oxidative stress in ADR-injected mice. γ-Glutamyl cysteine ethyl ester (GCEE), a precursor of glutathione, injected i.p. (150 mg/ kg body weight) 4 hr prior ADR injection (20 mg/kg body weight) led to significantly decreased protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation in subsequently isolated mice brain compared with brain isolated from ADR-injected mice without GCEE. The GSH levels were restored to the level of brain isolated from saline-injected mice. Furthermore, the enzyme activity of GST was increased in brain isolated from ADR-injected mice previously injected with GCEE compared with the brain isolated from ADR-injected mice previously injected with saline. These results are discussed with regard to potential pharmacological prevention of brain cognitive dysfunction in patients receiving ADR chemotherapy. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.