Guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A) signaling, a natriuretic peptide receptor, exerts renoprotective effects by stimulating natriuresis and reducing blood pressure. Previously we demonstrated massive albuminuria with hypertension in uninephrectomized, aldosterone-infused, and high salt-fed (ALDO) systemic GC-A KO mice with enhanced phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in podocytes. In the present study, we examined the interaction between p38 MAPK and GC-A signaling. The administration of FR167653, p38 MAPK inhibitor, reduced systolic blood pressure (SBP), urinary albumin excretion, segmental sclerosis, podocyte injury, and apoptosis. To further investigate the local action of natriuretic peptide and p38 MAPK in podocytes, we generated podocyte-specific (pod) GC-A conditional KO (cKO) mice. ALDO pod GC-A cKO mice demonstrated increased urinary albumin excretion with marked mesangial expansion, podocyte injury and apoptosis, but without blood pressure elevation. FR167653 also suppressed urinary albumin excretion without reducing SBP. Finally, we revealed that atrial natriuretic peptide increased phosphorylation of MAPK phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) concomitant with inhibited phosphorylation of p38 MAPK in response to MAPK kinase 3 activation, thereby resulting in decreased mRNA expression of the apoptosis-related gene, Bax, and Bax/Bcl2 ratio in cultured podocytes. These results indicate that natriuretic peptide exerts a renoprotective effect via inhibiting phosphorylation of p38 MAPK in podocytes.