The isoprostanes are a unique series of prostaglandin-like compounds formed in vivo from the free radical-initiated peroxidation of arachidonic acid independent of the cyclooxygenase enzyme. This article summarizes selected aspects regarding our current knowledge of these compounds and what are considered avenues for future research. Novel aspects related to the biochemistry of isoprostane formation are discussed first, followed by a summary of methods by which these compounds are analyzed. A considerable portion of this article deals with the utility of measuring isoprostanes as markers of oxidant injury in vitro and in vivo, particularly in pulmonary diseases. Studies performed over the past decade have shown that these compounds are extremely accurate measures of lipid peroxidation in animals and humans and have illuminated the role of oxidant injury in a number of human diseases, including those related to the lung.