Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated at sites of inflammation and injury, and at low levels, ROS can function as signaling molecules participating as signaling intermediates in regulation of fundamental cell activities such as cell growth and cell adaptation responses, whereas at higher concentrations, ROS can cause cellular injury and death. The vascular endothelium, which regulates the passage of macromolecules and circulating cells from blood to tissues, is a major target of oxidant stress, playing a critical role in the pathophysiology of several vascular diseases and disorders. Specifically, oxidant stress increases vascular endothelial permeability and promotes leukocyte adhesion, which are coupled with alterations in endothelial signal transduction and redox-regulated transcription factors such as activator protein-1 and nuclear factor-kappaB. This review discusses recent findings on the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which ROS signal events leading to impairment of endothelial barrier function and promotion of leukocyte adhesion. Particular emphasis is placed on the regulation of cell-cell and cell-surface adhesion molecules, the actin cytoskeleton, key protein kinases, and signal transduction events.