Protein oxidative or redox modifications induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) or reactive nitrogen species (RNS) not only can impair protein function, but also can regulate and expand protein function under a variety of stressful conditions. Protein oxidative modifications can generally be classified into two categories: irreversible oxidation and reversible oxidation. While irreversible oxidation usually leads to protein aggregation and degradation, reversible oxidation that usually occurs on protein cysteine residues can often serve as an "on and off" switch that regulates protein function and redox signaling pathways upon stress challenges. In the context of ischemic tolerance, including preconditioning and postconditioning, increasing evidence has indicated that reversible cysteine redox modifications such as S-sulfonation, S-nitrosylation, S-glutathionylation, and disulfide bond formation can serve as a cellular defense mechanism against tissue ischemic injury. In this review, I highlight evidence of cysteine redox modifications as protective measures in ischemic injury, demonstrating that protein redox modifications can serve as a therapeutic target for attenuating tissue ischemic injury. Prospectively, more oxidatively modified proteins will need to be identified that can play protective roles in tissue ischemic injury, in particular, when the oxidative modifications of such identified proteins can be enhanced by pharmacological agents or drugs that are available or to be developed.