Xanthine oxidase (EC 184.108.40.206) and xanthine dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.1. 204) are both members of the molybdenum hydroxylase flavoprotein family and represent different forms of the same gene product. The two enzyme forms and their reactions are often referred to as xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) activity. Physiologically, XOR is known as the rate-limiting enzyme in purine catabolism but has also been shown to be able to metabolize a number of other physiological compounds. Recent studies have also demonstrated its ability to metabolize xenobiotics, including a number of anticancer compounds, to their active metabolites. During the past 10 years, evidence has mounted to support a role for XOR in the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases and atherosclerosis as well as its previously determined role in ischemia-reperfusion injury. While significant progress has recently been made in our understanding of the physiological and biochemical nature of this enzyme system, considerable work still needs to be done. This paper will review some of the more recent work characterizing the interactions and the factors that influence the interactions of XOR with various physiological and xenobiotic compounds.