Abstract Using a microdialysis technique followed by an enzyme cycling analysis, we measured changes in the glutamate levels in the perilymph of gerbil cochleae before, during and after transient ischemic insult. The basal glutamate level in perilymph was 0.35±0.22 pmol/ μl. An almost immediate and continuous rise in the level of glutamate occurred after the ischemic insult, which advanced even further after recirculation; the average concentration was higher than 40 pmol/ μl 55 min after recirculation. The compound action potentials (CAP) monitoring the auditory function totally disappeared after ischemic insult. However, CAP reappeared after recirculation; the threshold for acoustic stimulation was higher than that observed at the pre-ischemic state.