Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in fish oil, improve the prognosis of several chronic inflammatory diseases although the mechanism for such effects remains unclear. These fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are highly polyunsaturated and readily undergo oxidation. We show that oxidized, but not native unoxidized, EPA significantly inhibited human neutrophil and monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells in vitro by inhibiting endothelial adhesion receptor expression. In transcriptional coactivation assays, oxidized EPA potently activated the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR alpha), a member of the nuclear receptor family. In vivo, oxidized, but not native, EPA markedly reduced leukocyte rolling and adhesion to venular endothelium of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated mice. This occurred via a PPAR alpha-dependent mechanism because oxidized EPA had no such effect in LPS-treated PPAR alpha-deficient mice. Therefore, the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids may be explained by a PPAR alpha-mediated anti-inflammatory effect of oxidized EPA.