The ability of chlorogenic acid to inhibit oxidation of human low-density lipoprotein (LDL) was studied by in vitro copper-induced LDL oxidation. The effect of chlorogenic acid on the lag time before LDL oxidation increased in a dose dependent manner by up to 176% of the control value when added at concentrations of 0.25-1.0 microM. Dose dependent increases in lag time of LDL oxidation were also observed, but at much higher concentrations, when chlorogenic acid was incubated with LDL (up to 29.7% increase in lag phase for 10 microM chlorogenic acid) or plasma (up to 16.6% increase in lag phase for 200 microM chlorogenic acid) prior to isolation of LDL, and this indicated that chlorogenic acid was able to bind, at least weakly, to LDL. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) increased the oxidative stability of LDL in the presence of chlorogenic acid. Fluorescence spectroscopy showed that chlorogenic acid binds to BSA with a binding constant of 3.88 x 10(4) M(-1). BSA increased the antioxidant effect of chlorogenic acid, and this was attributed to copper ions binding to BSA, thereby reducing the amount of copper available for inducing lipid peroxidation.