This study investigated interactions between the effects of mechanical stretch and thrombin on RhoA activation in rat aortic smooth muscle cells (RASMC). Equibiaxial, pulsatile stretch, or thrombin produced a significant increase in RhoA activation. Surprisingly, in combination, 30 min of stretch inhibited the ability of thrombin to activate RhoA. NO donors and 8-bromo-cGMP significantly inhibited thrombin-induced RhoA activation. Interestingly, the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor L-NAME increased basal RhoA activity, suggesting that NOS activity exerts a tonic inhibition on RhoA. Stretching RASMC increases nitrite production, consistent with the idea that NO contributes to the inhibitory effects of stretch. Thrombin stimulates MAP kinase and NF-kappaB pathways through Rho and these responses were blocked by 8-bromo-cGMP or stretch and restored by L-NAME. These data suggest that stretch, acting through NO and cGMP, can prevent the ability of thrombin to stimulate Rho signaling pathways that contribute to pathophysiological proliferative and inflammatory responses.