HSP25 has been shown to induce resistance to radiation and oxidative stress; however, its exact mechanisms remain unclear. In the present study, a high concentration of H2O2 was found to induce DNA fragmentation in L929 mouse fibroblast cells, and HSP25 overexpression attenuated this phenomenon. To elucidate the mechanisms of H2O2-mediated cell death, ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, and JNK1/2 phosphorylation in the cells after treatment with H2O2 were examined. ERK1/2 and JNK1/2 were activated by H2O2; ERK1/2 activation was inhibited in HSP25-overexpressed cells, while JNK1/2 was indifferent. Inhibition of ERK1/2 activation by treatment of the cells with PD98059 or dominant-negative ERK2 transfection blocked H2O2-induced cell death; similarly treated HSP25-overexpressed cells were not at all affected. Moreover, inhibition of JNK1/2 by dominant-negative JNK1 or JNK2 transfection did not affect H2O2-mediated cell death in control cells. Dominant-negative Ras or Raf transfection inhibited H2O2-mediated ERK1/2 activation and cell death in control cells. On the contrary, HSP25-overexpressed cells did not show any differences. Upstream pathways of H2O2-mediated ERK1/2 activation and cell death involved both tyrosine kinase (PDGFbeta receptor and Src) and PKCdelta, while in HSP25-overexpressed cells these kinases did not respond to H2O2 treatment. Since HSP25 overexpression reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS), increased manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) gene expression, and increased enzyme activity, involvement of MnSOD in HSP25-mediated attenuation of H2O2-mediated ERK1/2 activation and cell death was examined. Blockage of MnSOD with antisense oligonucleotides prevented DNA fragmentation and returned the ERK1/2 activation to the control level. Indeed, when MnSOD was overexpressed in L929 cells, similar to in HSP25-overexpressed cells, DNA fragmentation and ERK1/2 activation were reduced. From the above results, we suggest for the first time that reduced oxidative damage by HSP25 was due to MnSOD-mediated downregulation of ERK1/2.