Experimental evidences suggest that hyperglycaemia-induced overproduction of reactive oxygen species and subsequent damage to proteins, lipids and DNA may play a key role in the development of distal symmetric polyneuropathy (DSPN)-the most common complication of diabetes mellitus. The study population consisted of 51 individuals aged 52-82 years classified into 3 groups: 16 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with DSPN, 16 T2DM patients without DSPN and 19 control subjects without diabetes and neuropathy. The study was conducted to determine the activity of antioxidant enzymes: catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and total antioxidant status (TAS) in the examined groups. An alkaline comet assay was used to determine the extent of DNA damage of oxidized purines as glicosylo-formamidoglicosylase (Fpg) sites, and oxidized pyrimidines as endonuclease III (Nth) sites. A significant decrease of SOD (P < 0.05), GPX (P < 0.05) and nonsignificant decrease of CAT (P > 0.05), and TAS status (P > 0.05) were seen in T2DM patients with neuropathy compared to T2DM patients as well as controls. T2DM patients with or without neuropathy revealed significantly lower (P < 0.05) plasma concentration of nitrous oxide compared to the control subjects. Endogenous level of oxidative DNA damage in T2DM patients with DSPN was significantly higher compared both to the controls and T2DM patients without DSPN (P < 0.001). Moreover, lymphocytes isolated from T2DM patients with DSPN were more susceptible to oxidative DNA lesions induced by hydrogen peroxide than from T2DM patients without DSPN (P < 0.001). Our results confirm hypothesis that oxidative stress may play a substantial role in the development and progression of diabetic distal symmetric polyneuropathy.