Several 2,5-bis(1-aziridinyl)-1,4-benzoquinones (BABQs) can be activated to alkylating species by reduction of the quinone moiety. On the other hand, cytotoxicity of these compounds can be induced by redox cycling. A series of BABQs and their methylated analogues (BMABQs) with different substituents at the 3- and 6-position was synthesized in order to investigate the influence of the substituents on the reduction of the quinone moiety and on the generation of superoxide anion radicals with rat liver microsomes. Superoxide anion production (SAP) ranged from 3.7±0.1 to 742±74 nmoles/min/mg protein with quinone concentrations of 10 nmoles/ml. NADPH-oxidation was measured under the same conditions and it correlated well (r = 0.88, P < 0.001) with SAP. It ranged from 1.4±0.2 to 494±60 nmoles/min/mg protein. SAP for 22 B(M)ABQs showed a good correlation with the summated electronic substituent constant θpara,total (r = 0.86, P < 0.001). It can be concluded that superoxide anion production by 22 B(M)ABQs in rat liver microsomes can be predicted from structural features of the compounds.