Alpha-cypermethrin (α-CYP) is one of the most widely used insecticides. It may become an air pollutant and adversely affect the health. The present study was designed to determine whether treatment with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a well-known antioxidant, can be useful for the management of the deleterious effects of α-CYP on lung tissues. For this purpose, thirty two male rats were divided into four different groups (eight rats for each). Group (I) gavaged with corn oil (control group), group (II) gavaged daily with NAC (150 mg kg−1 body weight), group (III) gavaged with α-CYP (14.5 mg kg−1 body weight/day, dissolved in corn oil), group (IV) gavaged with NAC then with α-CYP 2 h later for 12 weeks. α-CYP significantly increased serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and pulmonary malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, while decreased the activities of catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) as well as reduced glutathione (GSH) content in lung. It also provoked higher levels of serum nitric oxide (NO), lung interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), hydroxyproline (Hyp) as well as heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-КB) gene expression in lung tissues. Histopathological alterations in lung with congestion, cellular infiltration, necrotic changes and thickening of inter-alveolar septa were observed following α-CYP administration. NAC reduced the adverse effects of α-CYP on lung tissues and improved the histological architecture of lung since it showed antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic effects on lung tissues. Our results indicate that NAC exerts a potent protective effect against α-CYP-induced oxidative damage and inflammation in lung tissues. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 30: 26–43, 2015.