The role of H2O2 as a second messenger in signal transduction pathways is well established. We show here that the NADPH oxidase-dependent production of O2- and H2O2 or respiratory burst in alveolar macrophages (AM) (NR8383 cells) is required for ADP-stimulated c-Jun phosphorylation and the activation of JNK1/2, MKK4 (but not MKK7) and apoptosis signal-regulating kinase-1 (ASK1). ASK1 binds only to the reduced form of thioredoxin (Trx). ADP induced the dissociation of ASK1/Trx complex and thus resulted in ASK1 activation, as assessed by phosphorylation at Thr845, which was enhanced after treatment with aurothioglucose (ATG), an inhibitor of Trx reductase. While dissociation of the complex implies Trx oxidation, protein electrophoretic mobility shift assay detected oxidation of Trx only after bolus H2 O2 but not after ADP stimulation. These results demonstrate that the ADP-stimulated respiratory burst activated the ASK1-MKK4-JNK1/ c-Jun signaling pathway in AM and suggest that transient and localized oxidation of Trx by the NADPH oxidase-mediated generation of H2O2 may play a critical role in ASK1 activation and the inflammatory response.