A large body of evidence suggests that the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can play an important role in ischemic neuronal injury. However any studies has been performed in hypoxic conditions. In the present experiments we studied using electron spin resonance (ESR) techniques the ROS release in neostriatum of newborn rats subjected to acute perinatal asphyxia (PA) followed by various periods of reoxygenation. Pregnant rats' uteri still containing foetuses were taken out and subjected to PA by immersion in a 37 degrees C water bath during the following periods of time: 5, 10, 15, 19 and 20 min. After performing PA, animals were recovered and ROS measured after 0, 5, 15, 30 or 60 min of reoxygenation. Then, pups were sacrificed, their neostriatum removed and homogenised with N-tert.-butyl-alpha-phenylnitrone (PBN) and diethylenetriamine-pentacetic acid (DPTA) in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and the formed complexes were extracted with ethyl acetate an analysed using an X-band ESR spectrometer. A significant release of ROS was detected at 19 and 20 min of PA after 5 min of reoxygenation. These data provide strong evidence that ROS could be involved in neuronal damage during PA.