Grape antioxidant dietary fibre (GADF) is a grape product rich in dietary fibre and natural antioxidants. We showed previously that the GADF intake induced an epithelial hypoplasia in the rat colonic mucosa. In the present study, we propose that the antioxidant effect of GADF could modulate mucosal apoptosis via modulation of the cellular redox environment. Male Wistar rats (n 20) were fed with diets containing either cellulose (control diet group) or GADF (GADF diet group) as fibre for 4 weeks. The GSH:GSSG ratio, the redox state of the GSSG/2GSH couple (Ehc), the mitochondrial and/or cytosolic antioxidant enzyme activities (superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx)), lipid peroxidation (LPO) and apoptosis were evaluated. GADF enhanced the cytosolic GSH:GSSG ratio, shifting the redox potential (Ehc) to a more pro-reducing status. Decreased Cu,ZnSOD:CAT, Cu,ZnSOD:GPx and MnSOD:GPx ratios could indicate an enhanced capacity for reducing H2O2, contributing to decreased cytosolic LPO. Reduced apoptosis in GADF-treated mucosa was inversely related to MnSOD activity. Furthermore, apoptosis increased directly as GSSG content increased. These results suggest that the reduction in apoptosis associated with GADF intake may be due to a modulation of the glutathione redox system and endogenous antioxidant enzymes.