Diazinon is a widely used organophosphorus pesticide in agriculture and environmental health, hence its adverse effects on nontarget animals, especially on fish is to be determined. The present study therefore aimed at detecting the biochemical changes caused by diazinon. To accomplish this aim, we studied the effects of sublethal concentrations (0.0036, 0.018, and 0.036 ppb) of diazinon on acetylcholine esterase activity, antioxidant enzyme activities, and lipid peroxidation in the liver of Cyprinus carpio on days 5, 15, and 30 after the exposure. The results revealed that the antioxidant enzyme activities such as superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase were induced by diazinon exposure. In addition, the highest catalytic activity of glutathione S-transferase (GST) was obtained with 1-chloro-2, 4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB). GST activity toward 1,2-dichloro-4-nitrobenzene (DCNB) was also observed in the liver, yet it was relatively low as opposed to the other substrates tested. On the other hand, hepatic malondialdehyde level did not show any significant alteration except after the exposure on day 15. The exposure of low concentrations of diazinon to C. carpio can induce oxidative stress in liver; yet restoring susceptibility and adapting to oxidative stress are likely to occur when low level of oxidative stress is administered. Furthermore, no significant change was observed in hepatic lipid peroxidation after diazinon treatment indicating that liver tissue resisted to oxidative stress by enhancing their antioxidant mechanisms. The level of lipid peroxidation was assumed to be associated with the concentrations of diazinon and experimentation periods. The induction of glutathione S-transferase and antioxidant enzyme activities were also assumed to have resulted from the defense against the toxicity of diazinon. (C) 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 26: 571-578, 2011.