Cytosolic reactions of the nuclear factor kappa B/inhibitor (NF-kappaB/IkappaB) complex leading to its activation, NF-kappaB translocation into the nucleus, DNA binding, and transactivation have been described with some degree of clarity, but the upstream processes that stimulate those cytosolic reactions remain obscure. These processes definitely involve multiple protein serine/threonine kinases, as proximal modifiers of IkappaB, as well as the corresponding phosphatases, upstream kinases, and phosphatases, including those acting on tyrosine residues. This complex cascade of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation is modulated by redox reactions of unknown nature in the sense that the oxidant status of the cytosol increases the phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaB. NF-kappaB action, however, requires a thioredoxin-dependent reduced status in the nucleus. Upstream kinase(s) and or phosphatase(s) prone to thiolation or oxidation of vicinal SH groups are at present considered the best candidates mediating the redox regulation of NF-kappaB.