We measured lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymes in erythrocytes of types IIb and IV hyperlipoproteinemic (HLP) human subjects in comparison with age-matched controls. Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), a measure of lipid peroxidation, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione reductase (GR), and catalase (CAT) were determined in erythrocytes. We also measured lipid parameters including triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein AI, and apolipoprotein 13, and antioxidant related substances such as serum albumin, free iron, ferritin, ceruloplasmin. Thirty-two subjects (females 15, males 17) with type IIb (the mean age 45.6 +/- 8 [S.E.]), 34 with type IV (females 16, males 18) (the mean age 47 +/- 10 [S.E.]), and 36 normolipidemic voluntary subjects (females 18, males 18) (the mean age 46 +/- 8 [S.E.]) were included in the study. Erythrocytes were prepared by classical washing method (0.9%NaCl) from venous blood samples. The mean TBARS levels in plasma and erythrocyte suspensions were found to be significantly higher in both types IIb and IV hyperlipoproteinemics. Erythrocyte SOD and GSH-Px activities were decreased but erythrocyte GR activity did not change in both types IIb and IV hyperlipoproteinemics. Erythrocyte CAT activity was decreased in type IIb, but it was increased in type IV hyperlipoproteinemics. Erythrocyte SOD activity was negatively correlated with plasma TG level, whereas plasma free iron was positively correlated with plasma TBARS level in type IV hyperlipoproteinemics. These results suggest the presence of oxidative injury in patients with type IIb or IV hyperlipoproteinemia, and that the responses of erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes to oxidant stress are different in these conditions. (C) 2004 Tohoku University Medical Press.