The neuroprotective role of C-phycocyanin was examined in kainate-injured brains of rats. The effect of three different treatments with C-phycocyanin was studied. The incidence of neurobehavioral changes was significantly lower in animals receiving C-phycocyanin. These animals also gained significantly more weight than the animals only receiving kainic acid, whereas their weight gain did not differed significantly from controls. Equivalent results were found when the neuronal damage in the hippocampus was evaluated through changes in peripheral benzodiazepine receptors (microglial marker) and heat shock protein 27 kD expression (astroglial marker). Our results are consistent with the oxygen radical scavenging properties of C-phycocyanin described elsewhere. Our findings and the virtual lack of toxicity of C-phycocyanin suggest this drug could be used to treat oxidative stress-induced neuronal injury in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.