Oxidative stress has long been demonstrated in haemodialysis patients. However, the factors influencing their oxidative status have not been characterized extensively in these patients. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the influence of a large number of factors known to be associated with oxidative stress. In the present cross-sectional study, we determined the plasma levels of lipid and protein oxidation markers in 31 non-smoking haemodialysis patients and 18 non-smoking healthy subjects, together with various components of the antioxidant system at the plasma and erythrocyte level. No influence of age, diabetes or iron overload on oxidative markers and plasma and erythrocyte antioxidant systems was detected in these haemodialysis patients. The lack of an association between iron overload and oxidative status may be related to the lower level of plasma ascorbate in haemodialysis patients, since ascorbate favours the generation of free iron from ferritin-bound iron. Interestingly, plasma C reactive protein (CRP) levels measured by highly sensitive CRP assay were correlated positively with plasma levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (r=0.38, P<0.04) and negatively with plasma alpha-tocopherol levels (r=-0.46, P<0.01). Moreover, significant inverse correlations were observed between duration of dialysis treatment and plasma levels of alpha-tocopherol (r=-0.49, P<0.02) and ubiquinol (r=-0.40, P<0.05). Our results suggest that inflammatory status and duration of dialysis treatment are the most important factors relating to oxidative stress in haemodialysis patients.