The molecular details of mammalian stress-activated signal transduction pathways have only begun to be dissected. This, despite the fact that the impact of these pathways on the pathology of chronic inflammation, heart disease, stroke, the debilitating effects of diabetes mellitus, and the side effects of cancer therapy, not to mention embryonic development, innate and acquired immunity, is profound. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes alone represent the most significant health care problems in the developed world. Thus it is not surprising that understanding these pathways has attracted wide interest, and in the past 10 years, dramatic progress has been made. Accordingly, it is now becoming possible to envisage the transition of these findings to the development of novel treatment strategies. This review focuses on the biochemical components and regulation of mammalian stress-regulated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. The nuclear factor-kappa B pathway, a second stress signaling paradigm, has been the subject of several excellent recent reviews (258, 260).