We previously demonstrated that indoxyl sulfate induces senescence and dysfunction of proximal tubular cells by activating p53 expression. However, little is known about the role of nuclear factor (NF)-κB in these processes. The present study examines whether activation (phosphorylation) of NF-κB by indoxyl sulfate promotes senescence and dysfunction in human proximal tubular cells (HK-2 cells). Indoxyl sulfate induced phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 on Ser-276, which was suppressed by N-acetylcysteine, an antioxidant. Furthermore, indoxyl sulfate induced NF-κB p65 expression. Inhibitors of NF-κB (pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate and isohelenin) and NF-κB p65 small interfering RNA (siRNA) suppressed indoxyl sulfate-induced senescence-associated β-galactosidase activity and expression of p53, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, and α-smoothe muscle actin (SMA). The induction of p53 expression and p53 promoter activity by indoxyl sulfate were inhibited by pifithrin-α, p-nitro, an inhibitor of p53, whereas p53-transfected cells showed enhanced p53 promoter activity. NF-κB inhibitors suppressed indoxyl sulfate-induced p21 expression, whereas NF-κB p65 siRNA enhanced its expression. NF-κB inhibitors partially alleviated indoxyl sulfate-induced inhibition of cellular proliferation. NF-κB p65 siRNA-transfected cells showed less proliferation in the presence of indoxyl sulfate than control cells. Phosphorylated NF-κB p65 was expressed and colocalized with p53, p21, β-galactosidase, TGF-β1, and α-SMA in the kidneys of chronic renal failure (CRF) rats. AST-120, which reduces serum indoxyl sulfate level, suppressed their expression in the CRF rat kidneys. Taken together, NF-κB plays an important role in indoxyl sulfate-induced cellular senescence, fibrotic gene expression, and inhibition of proliferation in proximal tubular cells. More notably, indoxyl sulfate accelerates proximal tubular cell senescence with progression of CRF through reactive oxygen species-NF-κB-p53 pathway.