AIM To study the hepato-protection of indole-3-carbinol (I3C), one of glucosinolate compounds in cruciferous vegetables, on ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity. METHODS Ethanol 50 mmol·L -1 was used to induce hepatotoxicity in precision liver-cut slices of rats. The release of glutamic pyruvic transaminase(GTP), glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) into culture medium, and aniline hydroxylase (ANH) and alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) in cytosol of hepatocytes in the precision liver-cut were measured with different doses of I3C. The histopathological observation of liver slices was also done to evaluate the effect of I3C. RESULTS The release of GTP, GOT, GST and LDH in the medium increased significantly when the slices were treated with 50 mmol·L -1 ethanol for 4 h. I3C at concentrations of 100～400 μmol·L -1 effectively reduced the release of GTP, GOT, GST and LDH in the medium of ethanol-treated slices. Meanwhile, the activities of cytosol ANH and ADH decreased to the normal levels. The histopathological changes of liver slices induced by ethanol were lessened by I3C treatment. CONCLUSION I3C can markedly protect rat liver slices from ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity, which partly results from the change of ethanol metabolism in liver.