Laminar shear stress activates c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) by the mechanisms involving both nitric oxide (NO) and phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K). Because protein kinase B (Akt), a downstream effector of PI3K, has been shown to phosphorylate and activate endothelial NO synthase, we hypothesized that Akt regulates shear-dependent activation of JNK by stimulating NO production. Here, we examined the role of Akt in shear-dependent NO production and JNK activation by expressing a dominant negative Akt mutant (AktAA) and a constitutively active mutant (AktMyr) in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). As expected, pretreatment of BAEC with the PI3K inhibitor (wortmannin) prevented shear-dependent stimulation of Akt and NO production. Transient expression of AktAA in BAEC by using a recombinant adenoviral construct inhibited the shear-dependent stimulation of NO production and JNK activation. However, transient expression of AktMyr by using a recombinant adenoviral construct did not induce JNK activation. This is consistent with our previous finding that NO is required, but not sufficient on its own, to activate JNK in response to shear stress. These results and our previous findings strongly suggest that shear stress triggers activation of PI3K, Akt, and endothelial NO synthase, leading to production of NO, which (along with O2-, which is also produced by shear) activates Ras-JNK pathway. The regulation of Akt, NO, and JNK by shear stress is likely to play a critical role in its antiatherogenic effects.