Reactive oxygen species (ROS) provoke the formation of base DNA alterations that are processed by an excision step of the lesion followed by a repair synthesis and ligation step to restore the strand continuity. We have reported previously the detection of DNA adducts by an in vitro chemiluminescence DNA repair synthesis assay (Salles et al., 1995) which allows the measurement of repair synthesis by cell-free extracts in damaged plasmid DNA adsorbed on sensitized microplate wells. The 3D (DNA damage detection) assay was performed in the presence of biotin-dUTP which was incorporated during the repair synthesis step. The extent of repair synthesis was measured in an ELISA reaction with ExtrAvidin-horse radish peroxidase and chemiluminescence detection. The 3D assay allows detection of any type of base alterations including base oxidation. Interestingly, under controlled production of ROS a screening procedure of antioxidants might be carried out with the 3D assay. By taking advantage of plasmid DNA adsorption, oxidative base damage can be recognized by the Escherichia coli Fpg protein which was detected in an ELISA reaction with specific antibody and chemiluminescence measurement (4D assay). With the sceening procedure of antioxidative compounds in mind, the development of such assays and their drawbacks are discussed.