The pro-apoptotic transcription factor p53 is involved in cell responses to injurious impacts. Using its inhibitor pifithrin- α and activators tenovin-1, RITA and WR-1065, we studied its potential participation in inactivation and death of isolated crayfish mechanoreceptor neuron and satellite glial cells induced by photodynamic treatment, a strong inducer of oxidative stress. In dark, p53 activation by tenovin-1 or WR-1065 shortened activity of isolated neurons. Tenovin-1 and WR-1065 induced apoptosis of glial cells, whereas pifithrin-α was anti-apoptotic. Therefore, p53 mediated glial apoptosis and suppression of neuronal activity after axotomy. Tenovin-1 but not other p53 modulators induced necrosis of axotomized neurons and surrounding glia, possibly, through p53-independent pathway. Under photodynamic treatment, p53 activators tenovin-1 and RITA enhanced glial apoptosis indicating the pro-apoptotic activity of p53. Photoinduced necrosis of neurons and glia was suppressed by tenovin-1 and, paradoxically, by pifithrin-α. Modulation of photoinduced changes in the neuronal activity and necrosis of neurons and glia was possibly p53-independent. The different effects of p53 modulators on neuronal and glial responses to axotomy and photodynamic impact were apparently associated with different signaling pathways in neurons and glial cells.