Abstract We studied the expression of bcl-2 oncoprotein in the gerbil hippocampus after transient ischemia. Immunostaining using monoclonal antibody raised against bcl-2 oncoprotein revealed intense immunoreactivity in the CA1 area following 2 min of ischemia, which induced tolerance to subsequent ischemia and prevented delayed neuronal death (DND). Following ischemia for 5 min, however, bcl-2 oncoprotein immunoreactivity was decreased, reflecting neuronal death in the CA1 area. However, pretreatment with ischemia of 2 min that prevented DND due to subsequent ischemia for 5 min, showed increased immunoreactivity. On the other hand, following 1 min of ischemia which failed to induce tolerance, no increase in the bcl-2 oncoprotein was observed. The results evidenced that expression of bcl-2 oncoprotein in the CA1 area following brief ischemia is closely related to the acquisition of resistance to DND.