Significance: Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a potential therapeutic target in many diseases, especially those mediated by oxidative stress and inflammation. HO-1 expression appears to regulate the homeostatic activity and distribution of mononuclear phagocytes (MP) in lymphoid tissue under physiological conditions. It also regulates the ability of MP to modulate the inflammatory response to tissue injury. Recent Advances: The induction of HO-1 within MP-particularly macrophages and dendritic cells-modulates the effector functions that they acquire after activation. These effector functions include cytokine production, surface receptor expression, maturation state, and polarization toward a pro-or anti-inflammatory phenotype. The importance of HO-1 in MP is emphasized by their expression of specific receptors that primarily function to ingest heme-containing substrate and deliver it to HO-1. Critical Issues: MP are the first immunological responders to tissue damage. They critically affect the outcome of injury to many organ systems, yet few therapies are currently available to specifically target MP during disease pathogenesis. Elucidation of the role of HO-1 expression in MP may help to direct broadly applicable therapies to clinical use that are based on the immunomodulatory capabilities of HO-1. Future Directions: Unraveling the complexities of HO-1 expression specifically within MP will more completely define how HO-1 provides cytoprotection in vivo. The use of models in which HO-1 expression is specifically modulated in bone marrow-derived cells will allow for a more complete characterization of its immunoregulatory properties. © Copyright 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.