Utilizing a lateral fluid percussion injury as a model of cerebral concussion, rats were studied histochemically measuring the degree of cytochrome oxidase activity present within different structures at different times following injury. After concussion, the cerebral cortex ipsilateral to the site of injury exhibited a diffuse decrease in its level of chromotome oxidase (CO) activity beginning at as soon as one day and lasting for up to 10 days after the insult. The ipsilateral dorsal hippocampus also exhibited an injury-induced decrease in CO activity, however, it was not as severe as in the cortex. These results indicate that oxidative metabolism is depressed primarily within the cerebral cortex and hippocampus for several days following a cerebral concussion. We propose that this period of metabolic depression may delineate a period of time during which the injured brain is unable to function normally and thus would be vulnerable to a second insult.