NMDA, the specific agonist of glutamate gated ion channels permeable to calcium, is implicated as a causal factor in the pathogenesis of several neurobiological disorders such as stroke, seizures, ischemia, and chronic neurodegenerative diseases. On the other hand, evidence on the roles of oxidative mechanisms involved in NMDA-induced neurotoxicity is accumulating. In this study, we have used chemiluminescence measurements as an easy, rapid and sensitive assay to investigate the effects of NMDA and oxidative stress on brain cell vulnerability. Rat brain homogenates were incubated with increasing concentrations of glutamate and NMDA. Production of reactive oxygen species was followed by single photon emission measurements using the specific enhancers luminol and lucigenin. Increases in emission were observed at excitotoxic concentrations of glutamate and NMDA. Other parameters of oxidative stress such as diene conjugates, TBARS and carbonyl groups were also investigated. Our results indicated that chemiluminescence measurements may be used to study involvement of oxidative stress in neurotoxicity.