The occlusion of the middle cerebral artery in cat brain was used as an experimental stroke model to investigate the physical basis of the recently reported lowered diffusion constant of water in acute infarcted brain tissue (Moseley et al., Magn. Reson. Med. 14, 330, 1990). The original findings were confirmed in this study of 12 animals investigated with the diffusion-sensitized stimulated echo sequence. The following additional results were obtained: First, the onset of significant lowering of the diffusion constant in the stroke area varied significantly (up to 2.5 h depending on the animal). Second, the affected area is much more clearly outlined in diffusion-weighted images than in T2-weighted images, even in the period between 3 to 12 h following occlusion. Third, for diffusion times between 50 and 2000 ms. the diffusion constant of water is independent of diffusion time in healthy tissue, as well as in the stroke area. Fourth, the diffusion anisotropy is similar in healthy and in stroke area and remains similar regardless of the diffusion time used.