Background Pramipexole exists as two isomers. The S(-) enantiomer is a potent D3/D2 receptor agonist and is extensively used in the management of PD. In contrast, the R(+) enantiomer is virtually devoid of any of the DA agonist effects. Very limited studies are available to characterize the pharmacological spectrum of the R(+) enantiomer of pramipexole. Results Using differentiated SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells as an experimental model, here we show that S(-) and R(+) pramipexole are endowed with equipotent efficacy in preventing cell death induced by H2O2 and inhibiting mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation. Both pramipexole enantiomers prevented mitochondrial ROS generation with a potency about ten times higher then that elicited for neuroprotection. Conclusions These results support the concept of both S(-) and R(+) pramipexole enantiomers as mitochondria-targeted antioxidants and suggest that the antioxidant, neuroprotective activity of these drugs is independent of both the chiral 6-propylamino group in the pramipexole molecule and the DA receptor stimulation.