The free radical theory of aging postulates that an imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) and antioxidant defenses is important in senescence. To address this issue and gain insight into the aging process, we have evaluated the antioxidant defenses and have assessed oxidative damage in testis tissues in aging male rats. In order to relate aging and reproduction, animals with and without reproductive activity were studied. In reproductive animals the results showed a progressive increase in antioxidant enzyme activity until 12 months of age followed by an abrupt fall at 24 months. In non-reproductive animals, antioxidant activity was stable through 12 months of age, but again, fell abruptly at 24 months of age. In addition, increased aconitase activity and increased testosterone levels were found among reproductively active animals. The data demonstrate the existence of metabolic differences in testis of reproductively experienced animals and reproductively naïve animals.