It is generally suggested that astrocytes play important restorative functions after brain injury, yet little is known regarding their recruitment to sites of injury, despite numerous in vitro experiments investigating astrocyte polarity. Here, we genetically manipulated one of the proposed key signals, the small RhoGTPase Cdc42, selectively in mouse astrocytes in vitro and in vivo. We used an in vitro scratch assay as a minimal wounding model and found that astrocytes lacking Cdc42 (Cdc42Δ) were still able to form protrusions, although in a nonoriented way. Consequently, they failed to migrate in a directed manner toward the scratch. When animals were injured in vivo through a stab wound, Cdc42Δastrocytes developed protrusions properly oriented toward the lesion, but thenumberof astrocytes recruited to the lesion site was significantly reduced. Surprisingly, however, lesions in Cdc42Δ animals, harboring fewer astrocytes contained significantly higher numbers of microglial cells than controls. These data suggest that impaired recruitment of astrocytes to sites of injury has a profound and unexpected effect on microglia recruitment. © 2011 the authors.