Oxygen availability varies throughout the human body in health and disease. Under physiological conditions, oxygen availability drops from the lungs over the blood stream towards the different tissues into the cells and the mitochondrial cavities leading to physiological low oxygen conditions or physiological hypoxia in all organs including primary lymphoid organs. Moreover, immune cells travel throughout the body searching for damaged cells and foreign antigens facing a variety of oxygen levels. Consequently, physiological hypoxia impacts immune cell function finally controlling innate and adaptive immune response mainly by transcriptional regulation via hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs). Under pathophysiological conditions such as found in inflammation, injury, infection, ischemia and cancer, severe hypoxia can alter immune cells leading to dysfunctional immune response finally leading to tissue damage, cancer progression and autoimmunity. Here we summarize the effects of physiological and pathophysiological hypoxia on innate and adaptive immune activity, we provide an overview on the control of immune response by cellular hypoxia-induced pathways with focus on the role of HIFs and discuss the opportunity to target hypoxia-sensitive pathways for the treatment of cancer and autoimmunity.