In the present study, we investigated whether a-lipoic acid (ALA) supplementation could have prooxidant or antioxidant effects on protein oxidation parameters such as protein carbonyl (PCO), nitrotyrosine (NT), advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), and protein thiol (P-SH), as well as oxidative stress parameters such as total thiol (T-SH), non-protein thiol (Np-SH), and lipid hydroperoxide (LHP) in the heart muscle tissue of aged rats. ALA (100 mg/kg body wt/day) was administered intraperitoneally to the experimental animals for 14 days. PCO, NT, AOPP, and P-SH levels were increased, T-SH and Np-SH levels were not changed, and only LHP levels were decreased in the heart muscle tissue of aged rats with ALA Supplementation. When compared with nonsupplemented aged rats, increasing levels of protein oxidation markers such as PCO, NT, and AOPP in ALA-supplernented aged rats may suggest that oxidative protein damage is increased in ALA-supplemented aged rats. We assume that an explanation for our findings regarding ALA supplementation on protein oxidation markers in the heart muscle tissue of aged rats may be due to the prooxidant effects of ALA. The prooxidant effects of ALA supplementation should be considered in future studies. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.