Inhibition of Rho-associated coiled coil-containing kinase (ROCK) has been reported to promote differentiation of neuronal cells. Here, we examined the effect of Y-27632, a ROCK inhibitor, on the outgrowth of neurites in PC12 cells. Y-27632 caused a rapid induction of neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells in a time-dependent manner. The neurite outgrowth, triggered by Y-27632, was accompanied by Rac1 activation, and was attenuated by Rac1 inhibitor NSC23766, in a concentration-dependent manner. Y-27632 also induced an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Pretreatment with N-acetylcysteine, an ROS scavenger, inhibited the ROS generation and neurite outgrowth in response to Y-27632. These results indicate that the activation of Rac1 and the generation of ROS contribute to the neurite outgrowth triggered by Y-27632 in PC12 cells.