The antioxidant property of tetrahydrocurcumin (THC), a reduced derivative of curcumin, was examined by its ability to inhibit radiation-induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver microsomes and compared with curcumin. The lipid peroxidation caused by irradiation of N2O-purged and aerated buffered aqueous solutions was found to be inhibited by THC in a dose- and concentration-dependent manner. In order to understand the actual reaction mechanisms involved in the inhibition process, pulse radiolysis investigation of THC with radiolytically produced radicals like hydroxyl, model peroxyl radicals, and azide radicals were done and the transients were detected by kinetic spectrophotometry. The reaction of THC with hydroxyl and azide radicals gave rise to transient absorption in the region 200-400 nm with two peaks at 310 nm and 390 nm. From the spectral properties and kinetics of these radicals, a suitable mechanism is discussed to explain the antioxidant actions of THC. © 2000 by Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry.