Antioxidative properties of alpha-lipoic acid (LA) are widely investigated in different in vivo and in vitro models. The aim of this study was to examine whether LA attenuates oxidative stress induced in rats by reserpine, a model substance frequently used to produce Parkinsonism in animals. Male Wistar rats were treated with reserpine (5 mg/kg) and LA (50 mg/kg) separately or in combination. The levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), glutathione disulfide (GSSG), nitric oxide (NO) and S-nitrosothiols as well as activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and L-gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (gamma-GT) were determined in the striatum and prefrontal cortex homogenates. In the striatum and prefrontal cortex a single dose of reserpine significantly enhanced levels of GSSG and NO but not that of S-nitrosothiols when compared with control. In the striatum, LA administered jointly with reserpine markedly increased the concentration of GSH and decreased GSSG level. In the prefrontal cortex, such treatment produced only an increasing tendency in GSH level but caused no changes in GSSG content. In both structures LA injected jointly with reserpine markedly decreased NO concentrations but did not cause significant changes in S-nitrosothiol levels when compared with control. Enzymatic activities of GPx and GST were intensified by LA in the striatum. In the prefrontal cortex, GPx activity was not altered, while that of GST was decreased. Gamma-GT activity was attenuated by reserpine in the striatum while LA reversed this effect. Such changes were not observed in the prefrontal cortex. The mode of LA action in the striatum during the reserpine-evoked oxidative stress strongly suggests that this compound may be of therapeutic value in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.