In vivo and in vitro studies revealed that nitroalkenes serve as protective mediators in the lung by inducing the cytoprotective enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Nitrolinoleic acid (LNO2) increased HO-1 mRNA, protein, and activity in cultured pulmonary epithelial cells treated with 5 to 50 μM LNO2 and in lungs of rats injected intraperitoneally with 2.6 mg/kg LNO2 twice daily for 20 days. Western blotting revealed that HO-1 protein increased significantly within 4 h of in vitro LNO2 addition and was preceded by an increase in HO-1 mRNA, consistent with transcriptional regulation of HO-1 expression by LNO2. LNO2 also dephosphorylated and activated eukaryotic initiation factor 2α, a key translational regulatory protein, indicating that increased translation may also contribute to LNO2-induced increases in HO-1. Exposure of cells to LNO2 activated ERK and JNK, as evidenced by increased phosphorylation. Downstream targets of ERK and JNK, Elk-1 and c-Jun, respectively, were also phosphorylated in response to LNO2 exposure. However, inhibitor studies revealed that only the ERK pathway is necessary for the LNO2-mediated increase in HO-1 mRNA and protein. These data reveal that LNO2 induces pulmonary epithelial HO-1 expression and downstream adaptive responses to inflammation via both transcriptional and translational regulatory mechanisms. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.