In this study, we investigated the mechanisms of kahweol protection of neuronal cells from cell death induced by the Parkinson's disease-related neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA). Pretreatment of SH-SY5Y cells with kahweol significantly reduced 6-OHDA-induced generation of ROS, caspase-3 activation, and subsequent cell death. Kahweol also up-regulated heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression, which conferred neuroprotection against 6-OHDA-induced oxidative injury. Moreover, kahweol induced PI3K and p38 activation, which are involved in the induction of Nrf2, HO-1 expression, and neuroprotection. These results suggest that regulation of the anti-oxidant enzyme HO-1 via the PI3K and p38/Nrf2 signaling pathways controls the intracellular levels of ROS.