The signaling pathways leading to high NaCl-induced activation of the transcription factor tonicity-responsive enhancer binding protein/osmotic response element binding protein (TonEBP/OREBP) remain incompletely understood. High NaCl has been reported to produce oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are a component of oxidative stress, contribute to regulation of transcription factors. The present study was undertaken to test whether the high NaCl-induced increase in ROS contributes to tonicity-dependent activation of TonEBP/OREBP. Human embryonic kidney 293 cells were used as a model. We find that raising NaCl increases ROS, including superoxide. N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an antioxidant, and MnTBAP, an inhibitor of superoxide, reduce high NaCl-induced superoxide activity and suppress both high NaCl-induced increase in TonEBP/OREBP transcriptional activity and high NaCl-induced increase in expression of BGT1mRNA, a transcriptional target of TonEBP/OREBP. Catalase, which decomposes hydrogen peroxide, does not have these effects, whether applied exogenously or overexpressed within the cells. Furthermore, NAC and MnTBAP, but not catalase, blunt high NaCl-induced increase in TonEBP/OREBP transactivation. NG-monomethyl-L-arginine, a general inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, has no significant effect on either high NaCl-induced increase in superoxide or TonEBP/OREBP transcriptional activity, suggesting that the effects of ROS do not involve nitric oxide. Ouabain, an inhibitor of Na-K-ATPase, attenuates high NaCl-induced superoxide activity and inhibits TonEBP/OREBP transcriptional activity. We conclude that the high NaCl-induced increase in ROS, including superoxide, contributes to activation of TonEBP/OREBP by increasing its transactivation.