Staphylococcus aureus with multiple sensitivity to ciprofloxacin, was investigated to detect alterations in the production of superoxide anion (O(2)(-)), other reactive oxidant species (ROS), and superoxide dismutase (SOD), and to relate them with ciprofloxacin accumulation and sensitivity. Oxidative stress was studied by means of Nitroblue Tetrazolium reaction (NBT) and chemiluminescence (CL); lucigenin was employed to detect O(2)(-), and luminol was used to measure other ROS. Sensitive strains exhibited higher intracellular O(2)(-) increase than resistant ones when incubated with ciprofloxacin. SOD was determined in normal conditions and induction was investigated in the presence of ciprofloxacin. These assays demonstrated that resistant and sensitive strains exported a great amount of SOD and that the induction of SOD intracellular was insufficient to counteract the augment of O(2)(-) in the cytoplasm of sensitive strains. Accumulation of ciprofloxacin, researched by spectrofluorometry, showed high levels of antibiotic in sensitive strains which increased the O(2)(-) causing more oxidative stress than in resistant S. aureus.