Plasma proteins are exposed to oxidants in a variety of circumstances in vivo, such as during tissue injury and inflammation. In this report, the relative susceptibility of each of the major plasma proteins to oxidative modification was assessed by exposing whole plasma to a metal-catalyzed radical generating system and detecting oxidation (protein carbonyl groups) using a novel Western blot immunoassay. Proteins were derivitized with dinitrophenylhydrazine, separated by SDS-gel electrophoresis, and screened with antibodies against dinitrophenyl groups. As little as 1 pmol of protein-associated carbonyls could be detected (100 ng of a 50 kD protein containing 0.5 mol carbonyl/mol protein). Individual plasma proteins were identified by their comigration with standards, crossreactivity with specific antibodies, and by comparison of plasma to serum. Using this approach, we found that plasma fibrinogen was much more susceptible to oxidative modification compared to the other major plasma proteins, albumin, immunoglobulins, and transferrin. The results emphasize the utility of this method for studying oxidation of proteins in cell extracts and tissues and indicate that experiments on the effects of oxidation on fibrinogen function are merited.