We have previously shown that the ability of overnight pretreatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to suppress alveolar macrophage (AM) leukotrienes (LT) synthesis is explained by induction of nitric oxide (NO), and reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI). More recently we have demonstrated that the generation of peroxynitrite (ONOO-) from the combination of NO and ROI directly nitrotyrosinates the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) enzyme and reduces cell-free and intact AM 5-LO metabolism. This effect of ONOO- was associated with nitrotyrosination of the 5-LO enzyme in intact cells and after treatment of recombinant enzyme. We postulated that LPS treatment of cells resulted in activation of 5-LO with the generation of ROI, which in turn led to autoinactivation of the enzyme. In an effort to suppress ROI generated from activation of 5-LO we examined the effect of a direct 5-LO inhibitor on LPS-induced suppression of LT synthesis. Coincubation with the reversible 5-LO inhibitor zileuton during the LPS pretreatment of intact cells dose dependently blocked the inhibition of 5-LO metabolism by LPS. The effect of zileuton on LPS-induced suppression of LT synthesis was similar to that of N-monomethyl-L-arginine. Zileuton had no effect on inducible nitric-oxide synthase induction. Interestingly, zileuton blocked ONOO--induced nitrotyrosination of recombinant 5-LO in a cell-free system as well as of native enzyme in intact cells. Moreover, zileuton blocked the nitrotyrosination of other proteins. We conclude that the suppression of 5-LO activity occurring with LPS treatment can be blocked by zileuton. The mechanism by which zileuton is effective is in part explained by blocking nitrotyrosination of 5-LO.