The role of mannitol as an osmoprotectant, a radical scavenger, a stabilizer of protein and membrane structure, and protector of photosynthesis under abiotic stress has already been well described. In this article we show that mannitol applied exogenously to salt-stressed wheat, which normally cannot synthesize mannitol, improved their salt tolerance by enhancing activities of antioxidant enzymes. Wheat seedlings (3 days old) grown in 100 mM mannitol (corresponding to -0.224 MPa) for 24 h were subjected to 100 mM NaCl treatment for 5 days. The effect of exogenously applied mannitol on the salt tolerance of plants in view of growth, lipid peroxidation levels, and activities of antioxidant enzymes in the roots of salt-sensitive wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. K & z & ltan-91) plants with or without mannitol was studied. Although root growth decreased under salt stress, this effect could be alleviated by mannitol pretreatment. Peroxidase (POX) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activities increased, whereas superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione reductase (GR) activities decreased in K & z & ltan-91 under salt stress. However, activities of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, POX, CAT, APX, and GR increased with mannitol pretreatment under salt stress. Although root tissue extracts of salt-stressed wheat plants exhibited only nine different SOD isozyme bands of which two were identified as Cu/Zn-SOD and Mn-SOD, mannitol treatment caused the appearance of 11 different SOD activity bands. On the other hand, five different POX isozyme bands were determined in all treatments. Enhanced peroxidation of lipid membranes under salt stress conditions was reduced by pretreatment with mannitol. We suggest that exogenous application of mannitol could alleviate salt-induced oxidative damage by enhancing antioxidant enzyme activities in the roots of salt-sensitive K & z & ltan-91.