Mitochondria are critically involved in reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent lung diseases, such as lung fibrosis, asbestos, chronic airway diseases and lung cancer. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes mitochondrial proteins and is more sensitive to oxidants than nuclear DNA. Damage to mtDNA causes mitochondrial dysfunction, including electron transport chain impairment and mitochondrial membrane potential loss. Furthermore, damaged mtDNA also acts as a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) that drives inflammatory and immune responses. In this review, crosstalk among alveolar epithelial cells, alveolar macrophages and mitochondria is examined. ROS-related transcription factors and downstream cell signaling pathways are also discussed. We conclude that targeting oxidative stress with antioxidant agents, such as thiol molecules, polyphenols and superoxide dismutase (SOD), and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis should be considered as novel strategies for treating lung diseases that currently have no effective treatment options.