We have previously observed rapid and strong inhibition of mRNA deadenylation and degradation in response to UV-B light [Gowrishankar et al., Biol. Chem. 386 (2005), pp. 1287-1293]. Expression analysis using a microarray for inflammatory genes showed that UV-B light induces stabilization of all short-lived mRNAs assayed. Stabilization was observed in HeLa cells, as well as in the keratinocyte line HaCaT. It affected constitutively expressed mRNA species, as well as species induced by the inflammatory cytokine IL-1. Many of the latter encode proteins involved in inflammation, suggesting that stress-induced inhibition of mRNA deadenylation contributes to changes in inflammatory gene expression. Deadenylation and degradation of tet-off-expressed mRNAs were also inhibited upon exposure to H2O2. However, scavengers of reactive oxygen species did not interfere with UV-B-induced inhibition of degradation, arguing against the involvement of UV-induced H2O2 in these effects of UV-B light. Heat shock and hyperosmolarity also inhibited mRNA deadenylation and degradation, whereas gamma-radiation did not. Thus, inhibition of mRNA deadenylation and degradation is a cellular response elicited by several but not all inducers of cell stress.