Previous studies have strongly suggested that heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) has protective effects in ischemia/reperfusion in tissues such as brain, heart, and liver. This study was performed to assess the efficacy of the HSP70 inducer geranylgeranylacetone (GGA) in experiments involving permanent middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion. Male Balb/c mice were subjected to permanent MCA occlusion by direct occlusion through small craniectomy. Vehicle or GGA (200 or 1000 mg/kg) was injected intraperitoneally 1 h prior to the onset of ischemia. Infarct volumes were evaluated at 24 h of ischemia by using 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining. The effect of GGA on the induction of HSP70 was studied at 3 h after ischemia with fluorescence immunocytochemistry. The percentage of infarct volume in the control mice (n=10) was 23.0+/-4.0% (mean+/-SD) of the contralateral hemisphere, while those in the treated groups were 22.6+/-7.3% (200 mg/kg group; n=5, P>0.05) and 15.7+/-3.8% (1000 mg/kg group; n=5, P<0.05). Pretreatments with 1000 mg/kg of GGA enhanced the ischemia-related induction of HSP in the neurons and astrocytes in the boundary zone of infarct. The results demonstrate that GGA significantly reduces infarct volume due to permanent MCA occlusion when given 1 h prior to the induction of ischemia.