The intracellular redox potential plays an important role in cell survival. The principal intracellular reductant NADPH is mainly produced by the pentose phosphate pathway by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), the rate-limiting enzyme, and by 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase. Considering the importance of NADPH, we hypothesized that G6PDH plays a critical role in cell death. Our results show that 1) G6PDH inhibitors potentiated H2O2-induced cell death; 2) overexpression of G6PDH increased resistance to H2O2-induced cell death; 3) serum deprivation, a stimulator of cell death, was associated with decreased G6PDH activity and resulted in elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS); 4) additions of substrates for G6PDH to serum-deprived cells almost completely abrogated the serum deprivation-induced rise in ROS; 5) consequences of G6PDH inhibition included a significant increase in apoptosis, loss of protein thiols, and degradation of G6PDH; and 6) G6PDH inhibition caused changes in mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation that were similar to the changes seen with H2O2. We conclude that G6PDH plays a critical role in cell death by affecting the redox potential.