We investigated the dynamics of autolytic damage of the cortical neurons in adult brains for 24 hours at room temperature (+20 degrees C) after cardiac arrest. The progressive histological and ultrastructural changes were documented using routine and immunohistochemical staining as well as electron microscopy. Our results demonstrated that there were no autolytic damages in the ultrastructure of cerebral neurons in the first 6 hours after warm cardiac arrest, in agreement with previous studies in other mammals. Interestingly, the activation of caspase-3 was observed in a significant number of neurons of the cerebellum and neocortex 9 hours following cardiac arrest. No significant changes related to autolysis were observed using amnio-cupric acid and Nissl (thionine) staining.