The hydroxyl radical scavenging activity of indole-3-propionate was evaluated by kinetic competition studies with the hydroxyl radical trapping reagent 2,2'-azino-bis-(3-ethyl-benz-thiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) and by measuring hydroxyl radical-initiated lipid peroxidation in the rat striatum. Using ABTS, the indole was shown to act as a potent hydroxyl radical scavenger with a rate constant of 7.8x1010 mol l-1 s-1. Hydroxyl radical-initiated lipid peroxidation, determined by measuring tissue malondialdehyde formation, was inhibited dose-dependently both in vitro and in vivo. Indole-3-propionate reacts with hydroxyl radicals at a diffusion controlled rate and can thereby provide on-site protection against the oxidative damage of biomolecules induced by these highly reactive and toxic oxygen intermediates. While it remains to be established if endogenous brain tissue levels of indole-3-propionate are sufficiently high to have a significant impact on total antioxidative capacity, the compound itself or a structurally related agent may be useful as an antioxidant adjuvant to combat hydroxyl radical-mediated oxidative stress.