Intravenous delivery of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) prepared from bone marrow (BMSCs) reduces infarction volume and ameliorates functional deficits in a rat cerebral ischemia model. MSC-like multipotent precursor cells (PMSCs) have also been suggested to exist in peripheral blood. To test the hypothesis that treatment with PMSCs may have a therapeutic benefit in stroke, we compared the efficacy of systemic delivery of BMSCs and PMSCs. A permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rat was induced by intraluminal vascular occlusion with a microfilament. Rat BMSCs and PMSCs were prepared in culture and intravenously injected into the rats 6 h after MCAO. Lesion size was assessed at 6 h, and 1, 3, and 7 days using MR imaging and histology. The hemodynamic change of cerebral blood perfusion on stroke was assessed the same times using perfusion-weighted image (PWI). Functional outcome was assessed using the treadmill stress test. Both BMSCs and PMSCs treated groups had reduced lesion volume, improved regional cerebral blood flow, and functional improvement compared to the control group. The therapeutic benefits of both MSC-treated groups were similar. These data suggest that PMSCs derived from peripheral blood could be an important cell source of cell therapy for stroke.