Our previous studies demonstrated that magnolol protects neurons against chemical hypoxia by KCN in cortical neuron-astrocyte mixed cultures (14). In the present study, we examined whether the neuroprotective effect of magnolol involve modulating inflammatory mediators, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and nitric oxide (NO), induced by KCN (hypoxia) or KCN plus lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In glucose-absent (hypoglycemia) media, KCN or KCN plus LPS induced increases in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity by 32% and 34%, and PGE2 production by 12% and 32%, respectively. Both LDH and PGE2 increases were suppressed by 100 microM magnolol. In addition, although KCN or LPS alone did not increase NO generation, KCN plus LPS increased NO generation. This increase was reduced by 100 microM magnolol or 10 microM L-NAME, but the LDH increase and PGE2 production were not reduced by L-NAME. These findings suggest that the protective effects of magnolol against brain damage by KCN or KCN plus LPS in hypoglycemic media may involve inhibition of PGE2 production, but inhibition of NO generation may not be important.