Reactive oxygen species (ROS) including superoxide (O(2)(.-)) and hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) are produced endogenously in response to cytokines, growth factors; G-protein coupled receptors, and shear stress in endothelial cells (ECs). ROS function as signaling molecules to mediate various biological responses such as gene expression, cell proliferation, migration, angiogenesis, apoptosis, and senescence in ECs. Signal transduction activated by ROS, "oxidant signaling," has received intense investigation. Excess amount of ROS contribute to various pathophysiologies, including endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The major source of ROS in EC is a NADPH oxidase. The prototype phagaocytic NADPH oxidase is composed of membrane-bound gp91phox and p22hox, as well as cytosolic subunits such as p47(phox), p67(phox) and small GTPase Rac. In ECs, in addition to all the components of phagocytic NADPH oxidases, homologues of gp91(phox) (Nox2) including Nox1, Nox4, and Nox5 are expressed. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the emerging area of ROS derived from NADPH oxidase and oxidant signaling in ECs linked to physiological and pathophysiological functions. Understanding these mechanisms may provide insight into the NADPH oxidase and oxidant signaling components as potential therapeutic targets.