Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) has been found to inhibit in-stent restenosis in animal models. However, the mechanism is not fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the effects of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA)-mediated SDT (ALA-SDT) on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), a cause of restenosis, with a focus on SDT-induced phenotypic switching. Serum-induced dedifferentiated VSMCs were cultured with ALA (1 mm, 24 h) and exposed to ultrasound (0.8 W/cm(2)) for 5 min. Results indicated that ALA-SDT inhibited the migration and proliferation of VSMCs and enhanced the expression of differentiated phenotypic markers in VSMCs. Additionally, ALA-SDT increased intracellular reactive oxygen species accumulation and phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase in VSMCs. Inhibition of reactive oxygen species elevation or p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activity abolished the expression of smooth muscle 22α (SM22α) in VSMCs induced by ALA-SDT. Taken together, these results suggest that ALA-SDT promotes transformation of the VSMC phenotype from the dedifferentiated to differentiated status via reactive oxygen species and activated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase.