Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced mainly during oxidative phosphorylation and by activated phagocytic cells during oxidative burst. The excessive production of ROS can damage lipids, protein, membrane and nucleic acids. They also serve as important intracellular signalling that enhances the inflammatory response. Many studies have demonstrated a role of ROS in the pathogenesis of inflammatory chronic arthropathies, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is known that ROS can function as a second messenger to activate nuclear factor kappa-B, which orchestrates the expression of a spectrum of genes involved in the inflammatory response. Therefore, an understanding of the complex interactions between these pathways might be useful for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for rheumatoid arthritis.