Chronic fluorosis can severely damage many systems of human body, but its pathogenesis is unclear. Normal composition and structure of cellular membrane lipids are a basic factor to maintain cell function. In this investigation, cellular membrane lipids of the liver were analysed after a long term fluoride treatment for rats and the results are discussed in order to give an explanation for the pathogenesis of this disease. Wistar rats were supplied with drinking water containing either 30 or 100 ppm fluoride (NaF) for seven months. Contents of phospholipid and neutral lipid in rat liver were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography, and fatty acid composition from individual phospholipids was measured by gas chromatography. Results showed that the total liver phospholipid content decreased in the rats treated with high dose of fluoride due to a lower content of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylserine (PS). Among the fatty acid compositions of PE and PC in the livers of fluoride poisoned animals, the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (20:4 and 22:6) decreased, whereas saturated fatty acids (16:0 and 18:0) increased. No changes could be detected in the amounts of liver cholesterol and dolichol. Total ubiquinone contents in rat liver were reduced by 11% in the group treated with 30 ppm fluoride and by 42% in the group treated with 100 ppm fluoride. In the subclasses of ubiquinone, both ubiquinone-9 and ubiquinoine-10 amounts decreased after fluoride treatment. These modifications of membrane lipids might be induced by oxidative stress, which might be an important factor in the pathogenesis of chronic fluorosis.