This study analyzed the involvement of nitric oxide (NO) in the root lignification of soybean seedlings. To this end, changes in root cell viability; phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) and soluble and cell wall bound peroxidase (POD) activities and lignin and hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂) contents of soybean roots treated with the NO-donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and its relationships with root growth were evaluated. Seedlings were cultivated in a nutrient solution supplemented with 5 to 1,000 μM SNP for 24 h. At an extremely low concentration (5 μM), SNP induced root growth and increased lignification and activities of related enzymes (PAL and cell wall-bound POD). At a high concentration (1,000 μM), SNP reduced root growth and lignification (PAL activity and H₂O₂ and lignin contents) and caused a loss of cell viability. Application of potassium ferrocyanide (an analog of SNP that cannot release NO) and PTIO (2-phenyl-4,4,5,5,-tetramethylimidazoleline-1-oxyl-3-oxide, a scavenger of NO) revealed that the inhibitory/stimulatory effects on root lignification may be due to NO itself. These results indicate that NO, depending on its concentration, may act as a stress factor, due to its toxic action, or as a signal molecule, inducing soybean root growth and lignification.