Free radicals and oxidative stress are involved in the pathogenesis of various diseases. Malondialdehyde (MDA) is a natural product of lipid peroxidation in all mammalian cells. Vitamins C and E are nonenzymatic antioxidant structures. Our study investigated the role of free radicals in the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The participants were 30 patients with OCD that were drug-free at least for a month and a control group of 30 healthy subjects, matched with respect to age and sex. In both groups, the levels of erythrocyte malondialdehyde and the plasma vitamin C and E concentrations were measured. The levels of malondialdehyde were significantly higher in the patient group than in the control group (p < .01). The levels of plasma vitamin E were significantly lower in the patient than in the control group (p < .02). Although our patient group had slightly lower concentrations of plasma vitamin C compared to our control group, the difference between these two groups was not statistically significant. There was a significant correlation between increasing malondialdehyde levels and decreasing vitamin E concentrations. This study shows the presence of a significant relationship of OCD and oxidative stress, and consequently, an involvement of free radicals and of the antioxidant defence. Biochemical studies may contribute to the understanding of OCD and its treatment. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.