A growing body of literature suggests persistent and selective structural changes in the cortico-limbic-thalamic-striatal system in patients with recurrent depressive disorder (DD). Oxidative stress is thought to play a key role in these processes. So far, the main scientific focus has been on antioxidant enzymes in this context. For the first time, this proof of concept study examines the activity of the free radicals producing the enzyme, xanthine oxidase (XO), directly in the cortico-limbic-thalamic-striatal system of patients with recurrent depression. The activity of XO was ascertained in the cortico-limbic-thalamic-striatal regions in post-mortem brain tissue of patients with recurrent depressive episodes and individuals without any neurological or psychiatric history (7/7). We measured the XO activity in following brain areas: hippocampus, regio entorhinalis, thalamus, putamen and caudate nucleus. In this study, we report a significant increase of XO activity in the thalamus and the putamen of patients with depression. Our findings contribute to the growing body of evidence suggesting that oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in certain brain areas in recurrent depressive disorder.