The aetiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown; however, recent evidence suggests excessive free radical (FR) generation may be involved. This study investigated for the first time levels of 8-iso-prostaglandin-F(2 alpha)-isoprostanes alongside other plasma markers of oxidative stress in CFS patients and control subjects. Forty-seven patients (18 males, 29 females, mean age 48 [19--63] years) who fulfilled the Centres for Disease Control classification for CFS and 34 healthy volunteers (13 males, 21 females, 46 [19--63] years) were enrolled in the study. The CFS patients were divided into two groups; one group had previously defined cardiovascular (CV) risk factors of obesity and hypertension (group 1) and the second were normotensive and nonobese (group 2). Patients had significantly increased levels of isoprostanes (group 1, P=0.007; group 2, P=0.03, unpaired t test compared to controls) and oxidised low-density lipoproteins (group 2, P=0.02) indicative of a FR attack on lipids. CFS patients also had significantly lower high-density lipoproteins (group 1, P=0.011; group 2, P=0.005). CFS symptoms correlated with isoprostane levels, but only in group 2 low CV risk CFS patients (isoprostanes correlated with; total symptom score P=0.005; joint pain P=0.002; postexertional malaise P=0.027, Pearson). This is the first time that raised levels of the gold standard measure of in vivo oxidative stress (isoprostanes) and their association with CFS symptoms have been reported.