We have previously demonstrated that human heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), an intracellular self protein, is the target of cellular and humoral autoimmune responses in patients with carotid atherosclerosis. In this study, we evaluated in vitro whether oxidative stress, a feature of atherosclerotic plaque, alters HSP90 expression in endothelial cells, thus inducing surface localization of this molecule and whether the antioxidant compound 7,8-dihydroxy-4-methylcoumarin (7,8-DHMC) is able to prevent oxidative stress-induced alterations of HSP90 localization. By the use of flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and semiquantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, we demonstrated that exposure of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) to the prooxidant compound H2O2 upregulated HSP90 surface expression and reduced its secretion without altering HSP90 gene expression and intracytoplasmic protein levels. Pretreatment of HUVEC with 7,8-DHMC prevented H2O2-induced alterations of HSP90 cellular distribution and secretion. Our results suggest that the strong oxidative conditions of atherosclerotic plaques promote the upregulation of HSP90 surface expression on endothelial cells, thus rendering the protein a possible target of autoimmune reactions. The antioxidant 7,8-DHMC, by preventing oxidative-stress-triggered HSP90 surface upregulation, may be useful to counteract possible autoreactive reactions to HSP90.