The intense systemic inflammatory response characterizing septic shock is associated with an increased generation of free radicals by multiple cell types in cardiovascular and non cardiovascular tissues. The oxygen-centered radical superoxide anion (O2 .-) rapidly reacts with the nitrogen-centered radical nitric oxide (NO.) to form the potent oxidant species peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite oxidizes multiple targets molecules, either directly or via the secondary generation of highly reactive radicals, resulting in significant alterations in lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, with significant cytotoxic consequences. The formation of peroxynitrite is a key pathophysiological mechanism contributing to the cardiovascular collapse of septic shock, promoting vascular contractile failure, endothelial and myocardial dysfunction, and is also implicated in the occurrence of multiple organ dysfunction in this setting. The recent development of various porphyrin-based pharmacological compounds accelerating the degradation of peroxynitrite has allowed to specifically address these pathophysiological roles of peroxynitrite in experimental septic shock. Such agents, including 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4- sulfonatophenyl)porphyrinato iron III chloride (FeTTPs), manganese tetrakis(4-N-methylpyridyl)porphyrin (MnTMPyP), Fe(III) tetrakis-2-(N-triethylene glycol monomethyl ether)pyridyl porphyrin) (FP-15) and WW-85, have been shown to improve the cardiovascular and multiple organ failure in small and large animal models of septic shock. Therefore, these findings support the development of peroxynitrite decomposition catalysts as potentially useful novel therapeutic agents to restore cardiovascular function in sepsis.