Oxidative stress has an important role in the pathogenesis of asthma. 8-Isoprostane is a prostaglandin (PG)-F2-like compound belonging to the F2 isoprostane class that is produced in vivo by the free radical-catalyzed peroxidation of arachidonic acid. 8-Isoprostane is a biomarker of oxidative stress, and its concentration is increased in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of patients with interstitial lung diseases. We measured 8-isoprostane concentrations in exhaled breath condensate in healthy subjects and in patients with mild (steroid naive, n = 12), moderate (inhaled steroid treatment, n = 17), and severe asthma (oral steroid treatment, n = 15). We also measured exhaled carbon monoxide (CO) and nitric oxide (NO), which may also reflect oxidative stress in the airways. 8-Isoprostane was detectable in breath condensate of normal subjects (15.8 +/- 1.6 pg/ml), and was increased in the breath condensate of patients with mild (33.7 +/- 2.8, p < 0.001), moderate (38.3 +/- 3.7 pg/ml, p < 0. 001), and severe asthma (48.9 +/- 5.0 pg/ml, p < 0.001). There was a positive correlation (r = 0.68, p < 0.05) of 8-isoprostane with NO, but not with CO, in the exhaled air of patients with mild asthma, but not in that of patients with moderate or severe asthma. There was no correlation between 8-isoprostane and lung function tests in any group of patients. Our study shows that oxidative stress is increased in asthmatic subjects as reflected by 8-isoprostane concentrations in breath condensate.