In recent years it has become apparent that peroxynitrite, which is one of the toxic metabolites originating from the reaction of nitric oxide and superoxide presents a number of pathologic states in which free radicals are thought to be involved. Peroxynitrite is capable of oxidizing a wide variety of biomolecules including plasma, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Peroxynitrite is involved in the hydroxylation of aromatic compounds and acts as a nitrating agent. It modifies free or protein-associated tyrosine residues to give nitrotyrosines, leaving a marker detectable in vivo. Peroxynitrite has been implicated in the pathophysiology of a variety of diseases including inflammation, atherosclerosis, arthritis, endotoxemia, ischaemia-reperfusion injury, or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Development of specific per oxynitrite scavengers may provide new approaches for the effective treatment of these disease states.