Patients were fully informed as to the study objectives and benefits, and provided written consent prior to enrolment. The study protocol was approved by the Committee on Human Research at the Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland. An intensification of free-radical reactions may contribute to accelerated atherosclerosis in kidney graft recipients. We examined the effect of a Mediterranean-type diet (MD) on the oxidative status of the plasma and erythrocytes of kidney graft recipients. Two patient groups were formed: a study group consuming the MD diet and a control group with a low-fat diet. C-reactive protein levels in plasma, oleic acid C18 : 1n-9 and linoleic acid C18 : 2n-6 concentrations in triacylglycerols were determined. To determine the oxidative status, we measured the concentrations of alpha-tocopherol in plasma, the content of thiobarbituric acid-reactive species (TBARS) in plasma and erythrocytes, and the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase in erythrocytes. In the MD group, the activities of erythrocyte enzymes changed significantly: those of superoxide dismutase increased (P<0.001 after 6 months), catalase decreased (P<0.001 after 6 months) and glutathione peroxidase decreased (P<0.05 after 2 months). The oleic acid content of triacylglycerols was increased (P<0.006) whereas that of linoleic acid was decreased (P<0.00005), alpha-tocopherol levels remaining unchanged. TBARS in plasma were decreased after 6 months of MD (P<0.05). No significant correlations were observed between TBARS, oleic acid, linoleic acid and alpha-tocopherol levels in plasma. MD appears to protect the erythrocytes against the action of free radicals, as reflected in the modified activities of some enzymes regulating the oxidative status of these blood cells.