Cerebral ischemia in vivo or oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) in vitro are characterized by major disturbances in neuronal ionic homeostasis, including significant rises in intracellular Na(+), Ca(2+), and Cl(-) and extracellular K(+). Recently, considerable attention has been focused on the cation-chloride cotransporters Na-K-Cl cotransporter isoform I (NKCC-1) and K-Cl cotransporter isoform II (KCC2), as they may play an important role in the disruption of ion gradients and subsequent ischemic damage. In this study, we examined the ability of cation-chloride transport inhibitors to influence the biochemical (i.e. ATP) and histological recovery of neurons in adult hippocampal slices exposed to OGD. In the hippocampus, 7 min of OGD caused a loss of ATP that recovered partially (approximately 50%) during 3 h of reoxygenation. Furosemide, which inhibits the NKCC-1 and KCC2 cotransporters, and bumetanide, a more specific NKCC-1 inhibitor, enhanced ATP recovery when measured 3 h after OGD. Furosemide and bumetanide also attenuated area CA1 neuronal injury after OGD. However, higher concentrations of these compounds appear to have additional non-specific toxic effects, limiting ATP recovery following OGD and promoting neuronal injury. The KCC2 cotransporter inhibitor DIOA and the Cl(-) ATPase inhibitor ethacrynic acid caused neuronal death even in the absence of OGD and promoted cytochrome c release from isolated mitochondria, indicating non-specific toxicities of these compounds.