To observe the effect of nuclear transcription factor-κB (NF-κB) on cerebral edema in rats with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Male SD rats with fluid percussion injury (FPI) were selected. After separation and culture, rats' astrocytes all suffered FPI. The expression of NF-κB and the water content were detected at the animal and cellular levels, while the activity of NOX was evaluated at the cellular level. According to the results, the positive expression of NF-κB and expression of mRNA were significantly increased and the water content was increased for rats after TBI, while NF-κB inhibitor BAY11-7082 could significantly reduce the effect of TBI. 1 and 3 h after FPI of astrocytes, the activation of NF-κB was increased and BAY 11-7082 could significantly improve the injury-induced swelling of astrocytes. After the injury of astrocytes, the activity of NOX was also increased, while BAY 11-7082 could reduce the activity of NOX. The results show that the activation of NF-κB in astrocytes is a key factor in the process of cerebral edema after TBI of rats.