The aim of this work was to study the association between plasma thiol levels and percentage carotid narrowing in a group of 68 patients who underwent a carotid endarterectomy, pertained as a risk factor for vascular and cardiovascular disease. Total plasma thiols were measured by capillary electrophoresis laser-induced fluorescence. The mean values of the hematological parameters studied were within normal limits and 25% of the patients were hyperhomocysteinemic (homocysteine >15 micromol/L). Pearson's correlation between carotid narrowing degree and the most common risk factors for atherosclerosis showed a positive relationship only between carotid narrowing degree and cysteine levels (r=0.252; p<0.05). Stepwise multiple linear regression with carotid narrowing degree as the dependent variable, and cysteine, homocysteine, age, triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol as independent variables confirmed that cysteine was significantly associated with these variables. By regrouping the population according to cysteine and homocysteine concentration percentiles, we found positive correlation between these parameters and median values of carotid narrowing degree. Our study provides experimental evidence to confirm that plasma homocysteine and cysteine are involved in carotid narrowing after carotid endarterectomy intervention, suggesting that cysteine may be involved in the deleterious molecular mechanisms active in carotid stenosis.