We studied hippocampal cellular proliferation and neurogenesis processes in a model of transient global cerebral ischemia in gerbils by labelling dividing cells with 5'-Bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU). Surrounding the region of selective neuronal death (CA1 pyramidal layer of the hippocampus), an important increase in reactive astrocytes and BrdU-labelled cells was detected 5 days after ischemia. A similar result was found in the dentate gyrus (DG) 12 days after ischemia. The differentiation of the BrdU+ cells was investigated 28 days after BrdU administration by analyzing the morphology, anatomic localization and cell phenotype by triple fluorescent labelling (BrdU, adult neural marker NeuN and DNA marker TOPRO-3) using confocal laser-scanning microscopy. This analysis showed increased neurogenesis in the DG in case of ischemia and triple positive labelling in some newborn cells in CA1. Seven brain hemispheres from gerbils subjected to ischemia did not develop CA1 neuronal death; hippocampus from these hemispheres did not show any of the above mentioned findings. Our results indicate that ischemia triggers proliferation in CA1 and neurogenesis in the DG in response to CA1 pyramidal neuronal death, independently of the reduced cerebral blood flow or the cell migration from subventricular zone (SVZ).