This study was designed to determine whether cyclic stretch induces a persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) phenotype of increased NADPH oxidase (Nox) 4 signaling in control pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC), and to identify the signal transduction molecules involved. To achieve this, PPHN was induced in lambs by antenatal ligation of the ductus arteriosus at 128 days gestation. After 9 days, lungs and PASMC were isolated from control (twin) and PPHN lambs. Control PASMC were exposed to cyclic stretch at 1 Hz and 15% elongation for 24 h. Stretch-induced Nox4 expression was attenuated by inhibition of mitochondrial complex III and NF-kappaB, and stretch-induced protein thiol oxidation was attenuated by Nox4 small interfering RNA and complex III inhibition. NF-kappaB activity was increased by stretch in a complex III-dependent fashion, and stretch-induced cyclin D1 expression was attenuated by complex III inhibition and Nox4 small interfering RNA. This is the first study to show that cyclic stretch increases Nox4 expression via mitochondrial complex III-induced activation of NF-kappaB in fetal PASMC, resulting in ROS signaling and increased cyclin D1 expression. Targeting these signaling molecules may attenuate pulmonary vascular remodeling associated with PPHN.