Excessive proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and incomplete re-endothelialization is a major clinical problem limiting the long-term efficacy of percutaneous coronary angioplasty. We tested if dimethylfumarate (DMF), an anti-psoriasis drug, could inhibit abnormal vascular remodeling via NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)-NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) activity. DMF significantly attenuated neointimal hyperplasia induced by balloon injury in rat carotid arteries via suppression of the G1 to S phase transition resulting from induction of p21 protein in VSMCs. Initially, DMF increased p21 protein stability through an enhancement in Nrf2 activity without an increase in p21 mRNA. Later on, DMF stimulated p21 mRNA expression through a process dependent on p53 activity. However, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) or NQO1 activity, well-known target genes induced by Nrf2, were dispensable for the DMF induction of p21 protein and the effect on the VSMC proliferation. Likewise, DMF protected endothelial cells from TNF-a-induced apoptosis and the dysfunction characterized by decreased eNOS expression. With knock-down of Nrf2 or NQO1, DMF failed to prevent TNF-a-induced cell apoptosis and decreased eNOS expression. Also, CD31 expression, an endothelial specific marker, was restored in vivo by DMF. In conclusion, DMF prevented abnormal proliferation in VSMCs by G1 cell cycle arrest via p21 upregulation driven by Nrf2 and p53 activity, and had a beneficial effect on TNF-a-induced apoptosis and dysfunction in endothelial cells through Nrf2-NQO1 activity suggesting that DMF might be a therapeutic drug for patients with vascular disease.