We have previously demonstrated that inflammatory compounds that increase nitric oxide (NO) synthase expression have a biphasic effect on the level of the NO messenger cGMP in astrocytes. In this work, we demonstrate that NO-dependent cGMP formation is involved in the morphological change induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in cultured rat cerebellar astroglia. In agreement with this, dibutyryl-cGMP, a permeable cGMP analogue, and atrial natriuretic peptide, a ligand for particulate guanylyl cyclase, are both able to induce process elongation and branching in astrocytes resulting from a rapid, reversible and concentration-dependent redistribution of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and actin filaments without significant change in protein levels. These effects are also observed in astrocytes co-cultured with neurons. The cytoskeleton rearrangement induced by cGMP is prevented by the specific protein kinase G inhibitor Rp-8Br-PET-cGMPS and involves downstream inhibition of RhoA GTPase since is not observed in cells transfected with constitutively active RhoA. Furthermore, dibutyryl-cGMP prevents RhoA-membrane association, a step necessary for its interaction with effectors. Stimulation of the cGMP-protein kinase G pathway also leads to increased astrocyte migration in an in vitro scratch-wound assay resulting in accelerated wound closure, as seen in reactive gliosis following brain injury. These results indicate that cGMP-mediated pathways may regulate physio-pathologically relevant responses in astroglial cells.