Due to anthropogenic activity, the environment is contaminated with high levels of cadmium, which is a dangerous heavy metal. At very low concentrations, cadmium is bioaccu-mulative and toxic to animals and plants, generating reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are destructive to cells of organisms. Anthocyanin pigments are natural antioxidants produced in various plant tissues and play a protective role under different environments. In the present study, the putative role of anthocyanins that accumulate in the grains and shoots of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in response to cadmium-induced toxicity (25 and 50 µM CdCl2) was studied at the seedling stage. For this purpose, a set of near-isogenic lines carrying different alleles of the Pp (purple pericarp) and Rc (red coleoptile) genes was used. The lines responded differently to Cd treatment. The observed changes in anthocyanin metabolism under stress conditions were dependent on the alleles of the Rc genes that determine coleoptile pigmentation and on CdCl2 concentration. In less-colored line carrying the Rc-A1 allele, the antioxidant system was unable to fully cope with oxidative stress and thus induced the synthesis of additional antioxidants, whereas in the most tolerant lines, which have dark-purple coleoptile pigmentation predetermined by Rc-A1+ Rc-D1, the level of anthocyanins in the coleoptiles was independent of stress. A protective role of anthocyanins presented in the coleoptiles of wheat seedlings was observed under moderate Cd stress (25 µM), whereas anthocyanins seemed to be ineffective as protective compounds under heavier stress.