Thiol-type compounds are an important class of strong antioxidants and main determinants of total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of cellular homogenates. The TAC of thiol mixtures and the corresponding TEAC (trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity) values of individual thiols were determined by the CUPRAC (CUPric Reducing Antioxidant Capacity) method, and the results were compared with those found by reference assays for method validation. Synthetic mixtures of thiols were prepared, and the expected and found TAC values (in mM trolox (TR) equivalents) of these mixtures showed a good agreement. The technique of standard additions was performed for thiol mixtures and human serum, and the absorbance results confirmed that apparent chemical deviations from Beer's law were absent in the system. The CUPRAC results were compared with those of reference methods, namely 2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS)/persulphate and Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP). As being a most important thiol (-SH) peptide at in vivo conditions, glutathione (GSH) showed a TEAC value of 0.57 in the CUPRAC method, as opposed to the corresponding value (1.51) in the ABTS/persulphate method. The ABTS/persulphate result was not in accordance with the reversible 1-e oxidation of GSH to the corresponding disulfide that is expected to occur under physiological conditions. FRAP did not give consistent results, and even at relatively high concentrations of GSH, the TEAC(FRAP) value was only 0.07. The thiol-type antioxidant-bearing pharmaceuticals of Brunac eye drop,Trom and Mentopin effervescent tablets containing N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) were assayed with HPLC for comparison, and the obtained results for NAC were in accordance with those found with CUPRAC. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.