The CD53 antigen is a member of the tetraspanin membrane protein family that is expressed in the lymphoid-myeloid lineage. Its biological role remains unknown. Using microarrays, we identified CD53 as one of the principal genes up-regulated by exposure of macrophages to LPS. Northern blot analysis confirmed the induction of CD53 in RAW264.7 macrophages treated with LPS or SNAP (a nitric oxide donor). Cells stably transfected with sense CD53 cDNA had increased levels of intracellular GSH and lower levels of peroxide, and were more resistant to H2O2 and to UVB irradiation. Cells harboring antisense CD53 had the opposite properties. We propose that the induction of CD53 is a major mechanism by which macrophages protect themselves against LPS-induced oxidative stress and UVB irradiation.