Oxygen-derived free radicals have been implicated in the pathogenesis of tissue injury after ischaemia-reperfusion. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester ( CAPE), an active ingredient of honeybee propolis, has been identified as having potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We evaluated the ability of CAPE applied intraperitoneally in reducing tissue injury after ischaemia-reperfusion. To investigate whether treatment with CAPE modifies the concentrations of the endogenous indices of oxidant stress, we examined its effects on a model of flap ischaemia-reperfusion injury in rats. CAPE (10 mu mol/ kg) was given through the peritoneum before reperfusion. CAPE given intraperitoneally had an inhibitory effect on tissue injury after ischaemia-reperfusion comparable to that of a control group. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CAPE may contribute to its suppression of tissue injury.