Oxidative damage of endothelial tight junction permeability is involved in the pathophysiology of a variety of vascular diseases. The authors studied the role of the antioxidant enzyme, human glutathione-S-transferase A4-4 (hGSTA4-4), in regulating expression of major molecules of tight junction in vascular endothelial cells under oxidative stress induced by H(2)O(2). A vascular endothelial cell line, mouse pancreatic endothelial cells (MS1), was transduced with recombinant adenoviral vector containing hGSTA4-4 gene. hGSTA4-4 induced expression of tight junction proteins occludin and zonula occludens (ZO)-1 under oxidative stress. Increased hGSTA4-4 expression correlated with increased transepithelial electrical resistance and decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of occludin and ZO-1 following exposure to H(2)O(2). In addition, morphologic dissociation of occludin, ZO-1, and F-actin during oxidative stress was reduced in hGSTA4-4-expressing cells. To explore a genetic approach for vascular diseases associated with disruption of tight junction proteins, we introduced the same viral vector to blood vessels of mice, rats, and rabbits ex vivo and found strong expression of hGSTA4-4 in endothelial cells. These results demonstrate that oxidative stress mediated disruption of tight junctions in endothelial cells may be attenuated by hGSTA4-4 expression.