The effect of increasing NaCl concentrations was studied on two different cultivars (cv. Orhangazi and cv. Cumhuriyet) of Sesamum indicum. Seedlings were grown for 40 days in half strength Hoagland solution and after 40 days treated with different NaCl concentrations (0, 50 and 100 mM) for 21 days. Differences in growth parameters, lipid peroxidation, antioxidative enzyme activities and proline accumulation were tested in order to put forward the relative tolerance or sensitivity of the cultivars. Results indicated that both parameters differ according to the cultivar's ability in coping oxidative stress caused by salinity. Constitutive levels of antioxidative enzyme activities were almost the same between the cultivars; however, cv. Cumhuriyet was able to induce antioxidative enzyme activities more efficiently when subjected to salt stress. Growth parameters, lipid peroxidation and proline accumulation results are also in good correlation with supporting this cultivar's being relatively tolerant. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.