Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), nano-cylinders with an extremely small diameter (1-2 nm) and high aspect ratio, have unique physico-chemical, electronic and mechanical properties and may exhibit unusual interactions with cells and tissues, thus necessitating studies of their toxicity and health effects. Manufactured SWCNT usually contain significant amounts of iron that may act as a catalyst of oxidative stress. Because macrophages are the primary responders to different particles that initiate and propagate inflammatory reactions and oxidative stress, we utilized two types of SWCNT: (1) iron-rich (non-purified) SWCNT (26 wt.% of iron) and (2) iron-stripped (purified) SWCNT (0.23 wt.% of iron) to study their interactions with RAW 264.7 macrophages. Ultrasonication resulted in predominantly well-dispersed and separated SWCNT strands as evidenced by scanning electron microscopy. Neither purified nor non-purified SWCNT were able to generate intracellular production of superoxide radicals or nitric oxide in RAW 264.7 macrophages as documented by flow-cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. SWCNT with different iron content displayed different redox activity in a cell-free model system as revealed by EPR-detectable formation of ascorbate radicals resulting from ascorbate oxidation. In the presence of zymosan-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages, non-purified iron-rich SWCNT were more effective in generating hydroxyl radicals (documented by EPR spin-trapping with 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide, DMPO) than purified SWCNT. Similarly, EPR spin-trapping experiments in the presence of zymosan-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages showed that non-purified SWCNT more effectively converted superoxide radicals generated by xanthine oxidase/xanthine into hydroxyl radicals as compared to purified SWCNT. Iron-rich SWCNT caused significant loss of intracellular low molecular weight thiols (GSH) and accumulation of lipid hydroperoxides in both zymosan-and PMA-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Catalase was able to partially protect macrophages against SWCNT induced elevation of biomarkers of oxidative stress (enhancement of lipid peroxidation and GSH depletion). Thus, the presence of iron in SWCNT may be important in determining redox-dependent responses of macrophages.