Microsomes were prepared from livers of malignant hyperthermia susceptible (MHS) or resistant (MHR) pigs. On incubation with the spin trap alpha-(4-pyridyl-l-oxide)-N-tert-butylnitrone (4-POBN), the microsomes from MHS pigs produced a characteristic electron spin resonance (ESR) signal at a greater rate than those from MHR pigs. Increased formation in the incubations of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) by the microsomes of the MHS pigs indicated an enhanced susceptibility to free radical-mediated lipid peroxidation. These results provide further evidence that MHS pigs have an antioxidant abnormality which may contribute to the fatal MH response. However the nature of the abnormality is unclear. The enhanced formation of unstable free radicals and indices of lipid peroxidation was not due to decreased vitamin E concentration or glutathione peroxidase activity in the microsomes. Furthermore, fatty acid profiles were similar in microsomes from MHS and MHR pigs indicating similar amounts of potential substrate for TBARS formation.