Peroxynitrite is the product of the reaction between nitric oxide and superoxide. It is an oxidant which can also decompose to form the hydroxyl radical and nitrogen dioxide. In this report we show that a powerful oxidant with reactivity similar to that of the hydroxyl radical is formed from the generation of superoxide from xanthine oxidase and nitric oxide from S-nitroso-n-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP). Simultaneous generation of these two radicals by either xanthine oxidase/SNAP or the sydnonimine SIN-1 in the presence of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) results in the depletion of α-tocopherol and formation of its oxidised product α-tocopheroquinone. The mechanism of oxidation required both the formation of nitric oxide and superoxide. In contrast to the promotion of LDL oxidation by transition metals the oxidation of LDL by SIN-1 was not sensitive to the addition of exogenous lipid hydroperoxide. © 1993.