BACKGROUND: The role of triglycerides in early preclinical atherosclerosis is controversial. Antioxidant markers may be associated with triglyceride levels in early preclinical atherosclerosis especially when fasting plasma glucose is raised. METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 127 participants attending the Diabetes Screening Clinic, Charles Sturt University, Australia. RESULTS: Serum 8-hydroxy-2-deoxy-guanosine (8-OHdG) was significantly greater in the impaired fasting glucose (IFG) group compared with the control group (536.7 pg/ml ± 249.8 versus 171.4 pg/ml ± 96.9, respectively). The increase in 8-OHdG was associated with a mildly non-significant elevation in low-density lipoprotein level (3.2 ± 1.1 mmol/l) and a poor level of high-density lipoprotein (1.31 ± 0.3 mmol/l) in the IFG group. However, a significant increase in triglycerides (1.6 ± 0.97 mmol/l; P < 0.05) in the IFG group was observed. Erythrocyte reduced glutathione (GSH) levels in the IFG group, although increased, were also not significantly different to control. CONCLUSION: A significant increase in 8-OHdG is associated with increased levels of triglycerides in the absence of significant changes in reduced GSH and normal levels of cholesterol in the IFG cohort, suggesting that oxidative stress may be present and indicative of subclinical atherosclerosis.