IFN-gamma (IFN-gamma) has been shown to activate astrocytes to acquire immune functions. In this study the effect of IFN-gamma on murine astrocytes was investigated via microarray analysis. The activating effect of IFN-gamma on the astrocyte transcriptome showed predominance toward pathways involved in adaptive immunity, initiation of the immune response and innate immunity. Previously unknown astrocytic genes expressed included members of the p47 GTPases and guanine nucleotide binding protein (GBP) families. Down-regulatory effects of IFN-gamma stimulation were confined to pathways involved in growth regulation, cell differentiation and cell adhesion. This data supports the notion that astrocytes are an important immunocompetant cell in the brain and indicate that astrocytes may have a significant role in various infectious diseases such as Toxoplasmic Encephalitis and neurological diseases with an immunological component such as Alzheimer's and autoimmune disorders.