Experiments were performed to identify arginase isoforms expressed in primary and transformed rodent macrophages and to determine the molecular mechanisms for the previously observed increase in arginase activity in macrophages cultured in hypoxia or anoxia. Results demonstrate the following: 1) mRNA and protein for hepatic-type AI arginase are expressed in primary cultures of rat and mouse peritoneal macrophages and are enhanced seven- and nine-fold, respectively, by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). 2) mRNA for extrahepatic-type AII arginase is constitutively expressed in mouse, but not rat, peritoneal macrophages and is detected in RAW264.7 cells after LPS treatment; neither J774A.1 nor P388D1 cells contain arginase mRNA. 3) AI arginase mRNA, arginase activity in cell lysates, and L-arginine flux through arginase in intact cells are all increased in rat wound-derived and mouse peritoneal macrophages by hypoxic or anoxic culture; AII arginase mRNA is, in contrast, suppressed > 50% by O2 deprivation. 4) Expression of the L-arginine transporter mCAT-2 is increased greater than twofold by reduced O2 culture. These results demonstrate substantial variability in arginase isoform expression among primary and transformed rodent macrophages. They also identify AI and AII arginase and the mCAT-2 L-arginine transporter as O2-regulated genes.