Peripherin is a type III intermediate filament predominantly expressed in neurons having direct axonal projections toward peripheral structures. Here, we report that brain injuries can trigger expression of peripherin and the formation of peripherin accumulations in neurons that are normally silent for this gene. Stab lesions made with nitrocellulose implants induced within 4 days the formation of peripherin accumulations, devoid of neurofilament proteins, in thalamic neurites at the site of the lesion. The local administration of interleukin-6 or leukemia inhibitory factor at the site of the stab lesion extended the expression pattern of peripherin to other neuronal subsets in areas of the cortex and/or of the hippocampus adjacent to injury. We also show that transient focal ischemia in mice, a model of stroke, can trigger within 72 h the formation of neuronal peripherin accumulations in neurons of the cortex, thalamus and hippocampus. This new type of potentially noxious intermediate filament protein accumulations, composed of peripherin, may be of relevance to many brain degenerative disorders with occurrence of proinflammatory cytokines.