We evaluated long-lived oxidant potential in the sputum of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) by quantitating the methionine-inhibitable, long-lived oxidant fraction of sputum, referred to as the chloramines. Taurine, the preferred amino acid substrate for chloramine formation, and myeloperoxidase (MPO), the chlorinated oxidant-generating enzyme, were also quantitated. As compared with the sputum of asthmatic subjects, the sputum of CF patients contained high concentrations of chloramines along with high levels of taurine and active MPO. A negative correlation between chloramine and taurine was found in the sputum of CF patients. No correlation was found between the density of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the level of chloramines, taurine, or MPO. In contrast, respiratory parameters (%FEV or %FVC) and a nutritional index correlated positively with chloramine levels, whereas negative correlations were observed with taurine and MPO. In addition, the effect of antibiotic therapy, which significantly increased chloramine and decreased taurine levels, supported a beneficial effect of chloramines on overall clinical status. Our findings support a dual role of long-lived oxidants at the site of airway inflammation in CF, one component of which is their ability to mediate oxidative stress and the other a beneficial effect that may be partly explained by their inhibitory effect on antiprotease defense systems.