[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hexachlorobenzene (HCB)-induced oxidative damages have been published in rats while the effects have not yet been reported in fishes. Juvenile common carps (Cyprinus carpio) were exposed to waterborne HCB from 2 to 200 microg l-1 for 5, 10 or 20 days. Liver and brain were analyzed for various parameters of oxidative stress. There were no significant changes of glutathione (GSH) content and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in liver after 5 or 10 days exposure, whereas obvious drops were observed at higher concentrations after 20 days exposure. Significant decreases of GSH content and SOD activity in brain were found during all the exposure days. In brain, HCB also significantly elevated the contents of reactive oxygen species (ROS), thiobarbituric acid- reactive substances (TBARS, as an indicator of lipid peroxidation products), glutathione disulfide (GSSG), and activities of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and glutathione reductase (GR), and inhibited activities of acetylcholinesterase (AchE) and glutathione S-transferase (GST). The results clearly demonstrated that environmentally possible level of HCB could result in oxidative stress in fish and brain was a sensitive target organ of HCB toxicity.