Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) activity has been previously noted to be responsive to changes in O2 tension. While prior studies have focused on the extremes (0-3% and 95-100%) of O2 tensions, we report the influence of 10% O2 on endothelial cell XOR, a concentration resembling modest arterial hypoxia commonly found in patients with chronic cardiopulmonary diseases. Exposure of bovine aortic endothelial cells to 10% O2 increased XOR mRNA and protein abundance by 50%. Concomitantly, there was a 3-fold increase in XOR activity, XOR-dependent reactive oxygen species production, and cellular export of active enzyme. Although increases in mRNA and immunoreactive protein levels were observed, inhibition of transcription, translation, or protein degradation did not significantly alter cellular XOR specific activity, suggesting only modest contributions to 10% O2-induced effects. Exposure to 10% O2 did not increase cellular HIF-1α protein levels and hypoxia mimics did not alter XOR activity. Treatment of control cells with adenosine resulted in increased XOR activity similar to hypoxia. Exposure to the adenosine receptor agonist NECA increased enzymatic activity 4-fold while 8SPT, an adenosine receptor antagonist, reduced hypoxic induction of XOR activity ∼50%. Combined, these data reveal that moderate hypoxia significantly enhances endothelial XOR specific activity, release, and XOR-derived reactive oxygen species generation. These effects appear to be mediated in part via adenosine-dependent processes. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.