Heme oxygenase (HO)-1 is a cytoprotective molecule that is induced during the response to injury. An increase in HO-1 is an acute indicator of inflammation, and early induction of HO-1 has been suggested to correlate with severity of injury. While a great deal is known about the induction of HO-1 by inflammatory mediators and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), much less is known about the effects of anti-inflammatory mediators on HO-1 expression. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β is known to play a critical role in suppressing the immune response, and the TGF-β1 isoform is expressed in inflammatory cells. Thus, we wanted to investigate whether TGF-β1 could inhibit the expression of HO-1 during exposure to an inflammatory stimulus in macrophages. Here we demonstrate that TGF-β1 is able to downregulate LPS-induced HO-1 in mouse macrophages, and this reduction in HO-1 occurred through signaling of TGF-β1 via its type I receptor, and activation of Smad2. This TGF-β1 response is dependent on an intact Ets-binding site (EBS) located 93 base pairs upstream from the mouse HO-1 transcription start site. This EBS is known to be important for Ets-2 transactivation of HO-1 by LPS stimulation, and we show that TGF-β1 is able to suppress LPS-induced Ets-2 mRNA and protein levels in macrophages. Moreover, silencing of Smad2 is able to prevent the suppression of both HO-1 and Ets-2 by TGF-β1 during exposure to LPS. These data suggest that the return of HO-1 to basal levels during the resolution of an inflammatory response may involve its downregulation by anti-inflammatory mediators. J. Cell. Physiol. 227: 351–360, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.