Hepatic lipid peroxidation, metallothioneins, collagen and proline hydroxylase activity were investigated in 16 ethanol-fed rats and in 16 control animals. The rats were further divided into three groups to receive either a standard diet, a zinc-deficient diet or a zinc-supplemented diet. The animals were sacrificed at week 12 of the experiment for histological and biochemical assessments. Hepatic tissue examination indicated that oral zinc supplementation was associated with a decrease in lipid peroxidation, collagen deposition and proline hydroxylase activity together with an increase in metallothionein concentration in alcoholic rats. There were no significant differences in lipid peroxidation in the control group in relation to the diet. Zinc supplementation was associated with increased concentrations of hepatic metallothioneins together with decreased concentrations of proline-hydroxylase and collagen but to a lesser degree than in alcoholic animals. These results indicate that zinc is an efficient hepato-protective agent against lipid peroxidation in alcoholic rats and its effect may be, in part, mediated by the activation of metallothionein synthesis. Also, lipid peroxidation may be related to changes in hepatic collagen synthesis.