Oxidative stress enhances inflammation and reduces the effectiveness of corticosteroids, but the inflammatory signalling pathways induced by oxidants remain ill-defined. Phosphorylation of histone 3 at serine 10 (H3-Pser10) marks out a subset of inflammatory genes for transcription, several of which are induced in oxidant-associated inflammation. However, the influence of oxidants or of corticosteroids on this modification remains unknown. We assessed the regulation of H3-Pser10 by oxidants and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in human blood monocytes and lung macrophages and the effectiveness of its abolition in controlling inflammatory gene expression in cells from asthmatic subjects compared to corticosteroids alone. Both oxidants and LPS promoted the induction of H3-Pser10 which was unaffected by corticosteroids. The induction of H3-Pser10 was mediated through p38α mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and IκB kinase 2 (IKK-2) signalling. Consequently, inhibitors of p38α MAPK or IKK-2 used in combination with dexamethasone were more effective at controlling inflammatory gene expression from monocytes and lung macrophages from asthmatic patients than the corticosteroid alone. Therefore, reduction of H3-Pser10 by inhibition of p38α MAPK or of IKK-2 may provide greater anti-inflammatory control than corticosteroids alone in oxidant-associated inflammation such as severe asthma.