Heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) is induced by oxidative or nitrosative stress, cytokines and other mediators produced during inflammatory processes, likely as part of a defence system in cells exposed to stress to provide a negative feedback for cell activation and the production of mediators, which could modulate the inflammatory response. HO-1 activity results in the inhibition of oxidative damage and apoptosis, with significant reductions in inflammatory events including edema, leukocyte adhesion and migration, and production of inflammatory cytokines. HO-1 is induced by nitric oxide (NO) in different biological systems and can control the increased production of this mediator observed in many inflammatory situations. Regulatory interactions between HO-1 and cyclooxygenase (COX) pathways have also been reported. Modulation of signal transduction pathways by HO-1 or products derived from its activity, such as carbon monoxide (CO), may mediate the anti-inflammatory effects of this protein. Regulation of HO-1 activity may be a therapeutical strategy for a number of inflammatory conditions.