Lipid peroxide (LPO) levels, as determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and by the thiobarbituric acid (TBA) method, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity in vitreous of patients vitrectomized because of proliferative diabetic retinopathy were compared with LPO levels and MPO activity in vitreous of patients with no vitreoretinal proliferation. Both LPO levels and MPO activity were significantly elevated in the vitreous of patients with fibrovascular vitreoretinal proliferations secondary to diabetes. The TBA method produced higher values for LPO levels than did the HPLC method. The correlation between the two methods was 0.94. Our results suggest that both oxygen-free radicals and inflammation-related reactions can participate in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy.