Promising results have been obtained using cerium (Ce) oxide nanoparticles (CNPs) as antioxidants in biological systems. CNPs have unique regenerative properties owing to their low reduction potential and the coexistence of both Ce3+/Ce4+ on their surfaces. Defects in the crystal lattice due to the presence of Ce3+ play an important role in tuning the redox activity of CNPs. The surface Ce3+:Ce4+ ratio is influenced by the microenvironment. Therefore, the microenvironment and synthesis method adopted also plays an important role in determining the biological activity and toxicity of CNPs. The presence of a mixed valance state plays an important role in scavenging reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. CNPs are found to be effective against pathologies associated with chronic oxidative stress and inflammation. CNPs are well tolerated in both in vitro and in vivo biological models, which makes CNPs well suited for applications in nanobiology and regenerative medicine.