Uterine leiomyomas are benign uterine tumors characterized by extracellular matrix remodeling, increased collagen deposition, and increased smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) producing NADPH oxidase complex has been shown to be involved in the signaling pathways of several growth factors, cytokines, and vasoactive agents that stimulate proliferation of a variety of cell types. Our objective was to test the hypothesis that ROS derived from NADPH oxidase is a necessary component of the MAP kinase mitogenic pathway activated by platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) in leiomyoma SMCs (LSMCs). Primary cell cultures of LSMCs were used as our experimental model. Our results showed that stimulation of these cells with PDGF or EGF caused a marked increase in intracellular ROS production and that the NADPH oxidase inhibitor, DPI, blocks ROS production. In addition, inhibition of ROS production by NADPH oxidase inhibitors blocked, in a dose-dependent manner, the EGF- and PDGF-induced increase in [(3)H]thymidine incorporation by LSMCs. Furthermore, an exogenous source of ROS, hydrogen peroxide, was sufficient to stimulate [(3)H]thymidine incorporation in LSMCs but did not affect COL1A2 and COL3A1 mRNA levels. Inhibition of the NADPH oxidase complex decreased PDGF-induced MAPK1/MAPK3 activation, whereas exogenous hydrogen peroxide induced MAPK1/MAPK3 activation. This article is the first report suggesting the presence of the NADPH oxidase system and its importance in mitogenic signaling pathways in LSMCs. The necessity of NADPH oxidase-derived ROS for EGF and PDGF signaling pathways leading to cell proliferation points to another potential therapeutic target for treatment and/or prevention of uterine leiomyomas.