Oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein in the artery wall plays a crucial role in the development of atherosclerosis. This physiopathological mechanism is clearly inhibited by high-density lipoprotein possibly via paraoxonase enzyme activity, present in high-density lipoprotein. In this study, we determined the in vitro susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein to oxidation and the effect of various factors, such as paraoxonase phenotypes, on this process. Low-density lipoprotein from healthy volunteers (n=66) was isolated using the precipitant reagent and the oxidation was evaluated by measuring the malonyl dialdehyde and diene levels. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and phospholipid, vitamin E, serum cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes were also determined. There was no difference among the parameters with regard to gender. Low-density lipoprotein samples obtained from subjects with the AA allele were more prone to oxidation, as observed by their higher stimulated conjugated diene (P=0.041) and thiobarbituric acid-related substance (P=0.042) levels, than samples from subjects with AB or BB alleles. The subjects with the BB allele had higher superoxide dismutase (P=0.021) and catalase (insignificant increase) activities, while their conjugated diene (P=0.000) levels were lower. In conclusion, our results revealed that the high low-density lipoprotein oxidation is related to the high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol content and low phospholipid content. The present study demonstrated an increase in superoxide dismutase and catalase activities, as well as PON1 activities, in subjects with the BB allele. Since these enzymes all show activity against low-density lipoprotein oxidation, we propose that future investigations on atherosclerotic processes should address PON1 polymorphism as well as PON1 and other antioxidant enzymes.