An immunoaffinity column is described that facilitates the analysis of oxidative DNA damage. DNA adducts excised from DNA are excreted in urine and can be assayed as a measure of DNA damage in individuals. Polyclonal antibodies that recognize 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (oh8dG), a biomarker of oxidative damage to DNA, have been produced and their binding properties characterized. The antibodies, raised in rabbits following immunization with protein carrier-hapten conjugates prepared by covalently linking periodate-treated 8-hydroxyguanosine (oh8G) to bovine serum albumin (BSA) or casein, bind oh8dG with high affinity and selectivity, as measured by a competitive radioimmunoassay (RIA). Antibodies obtained from the rabbits immunized with the casein conjugate exhibited a binding affinity for oh8dG of 6.9 x 10(8) M-1. Studies on the relative binding affinities of these polyclonal antibodies for oh8dG, unmodified nucleosides, or derivatives of guanine indicate that the antibodies are suitable for the preparation of immunoaffinity columns that permit us to rapidly isolate oh8dG and 8-hydroxyguanine (oh8Gua) from urine. The high selectivity of the antibodies for oh8dG and oh8G reduces the amount of urinary contaminants previously observed in samples prepared by solid phase extraction, thus greatly facilitating the isolation of these damage products from urine. The relative binding affinity of these antibodies for oh8Gua and 2'-deoxyguanosine were approximately 7.6 x 10(3) and 7.4 x 10(4) fold lower respectively, than the binding affinity for oh8dG. The antibody can be used to quantitate oh8dG in enzymatic hydrolyzates of DNA with values comparable to those obtained by HPLC with electrochemical detection (HPLC-EC).