Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) is highly expressed in the extracellular matrix of lung and vascular tissue. Localization of EC-SOD to the matrix of the lung may protect against oxidative tissue damage that leads to pulmonary fibrosis. This study directly examines the protective role of EC-SOD in a bleomycin model of pulmonary fibrosis and the effect of this enzyme on oxidative protein fragmentation. Mice null for ec-sod display a marked increase in lung inflammation at 14 d post-bleomycin treatment as compared to their wild-type counterparts. Hydroxyproline analysis determined that both wild-type and ec-sod null mice display a marked increase in interstitial fibrosis at 14 d post-treatment, and the severity of fibrosis is significantly increased in ec-sod null mice compared to wild-type mice. To determine if the lack of EC-SOD promotes bleomycin-induced oxidative protein modification, 2-pyrrolidone content (as a measure of oxidative protein fragmentation at proline residues) was assessed in lung tissue from treated mice. 2-Pyrrolidone levels in the lung hydrolysates from ec-sod null mice were increased at both 7 and 14 d post-bleomycin treatment as compared to wild-type mice, indicating EC-SOD can inhibit oxidative fragmentation of proteins in this specific model of oxidative stress.