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The isoprostanes are a unique series of prostaglandin-like compounds formed in vivo via a non-enzymatic mechanism involving the free radical-initiated peroxidation of arachidonic acid. This article summarizes selected aspects regarding current knowledge of these compounds and their value as markers of oxidative injury. Novel aspects related to the biochemistry of isoprostane formation are discussed and methods by which these compounds can be analysed and quantified are summarized. A considerable portion of this article examines the utility of F(2)-isoprostanes as markers of oxidant injury in vivo. Numerous studies carried out over the past decade have shown that these compounds are extremely accurate measures of lipid peroxidation and have illuminated the role of oxidant injury in a number of human diseases including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and pulmonary disorders.