Nonprotein-bound iron (NPBI) and F2-isoprostanes, reliable markers of oxidative stress, are increased in plasma of newborns and inversely correlated to the gestational age. Because NPBI represents a pro-oxidant stimulus in plasma, we test the hypothesis that the entity of lipid peroxidation is related with NPBI concentrations. Plasma levels of free, esterified, and total F2-isoprostanes were investigated in relation to NPBI levels in 59 newborns and 16 healthy adults. The pro-oxidant role of iron was ascertained in vitro, by measuring all the forms of F2-isoprostanes after incubation with ammonium iron sulfate. Significant positive correlations were found between NPBI and total as well as esterified F2-isoprostanes in plasma of the newborns. The addition of ammonium iron sulfate induced a marked increase in all the forms of F2-isoprostanes after 2 hours of incubation. The higher NPBI concentration, the higher F2-isoprostanes levels. An increase NPBI dose dependent in total F2-isoprostanes formation was observed in dialyzed low density lipoprotein from adult plasma. The results clearly show that once NPBI is generated, whatever its source, it is capable of inducing oxidative stress. NPBI-induced oxidative stress may contribute to the morbidity in preterm infants that are particularly susceptible to free radical damage.