Neutrophils/polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), an important component of innate immune system, release extracellular traps (NETs) to eliminate invaded pathogens; however understanding of the role of signaling molecules/proteins need to be elucidated. In the present study role of p38 MAPK and extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) against phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and NETs formation has been investigated. Human neutrophils were treated with PMA to induce free radical generation and NETs release, which were monitored by NBT reduction and elastase/DNA release, respectively. PMA treatment led to the time dependent phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and ERK in PMNs. Pretreatment of PMNs with SB202190 or U0126 did not significantly reduce PMA induce free radical generation, but prevented NETs release. Pretreatment of PMNs with NADPH oxidase inhibitor (diphenyleneiodonium chloride) significantly reduced free radical generation, p38 MAPK and ERK phosphorylation as well as NETs release, suggesting that p38 MAPK and ERK activation was downstream to free radical generation. The present study thus demonstrates ROS dependent activation of ERK and p38 MAPK, which mediated PMA induced NETs release from human neutrophils. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 532–540, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.