There is great evidence in recent years that oxygen free radicals play an important role in the pathophysiology of many neuropsychiatric disorders. The present study was performed to assess the changes in red blood cells thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) levels, and superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), adenosine deaminase (ADA) and xanthine oxidase (XO) activities in patients with autism (n = 27) compared to age- and sex-matched normal controls (n = 26). In the autistic group, increased TBARS levels (p < 0.001) and XO (p < 0.001) and SOD (p < 0.001) activity, decreased CAT (p < 0.001) activity and unchanged ADA activity were detected. It is proposed that antioxidant status may be changed in autism and this new situation may induce lipid peroxidation. These findings indicated a possible role of increased oxidative stress and altered enzymatic antioxidants, both of which may be relevant to the pathophysiology of autism.