We investigated the effect of the known antagonist of platelet-activating factor (PAF), ginkgolide B, on postischemic neuronal damage in the rat. Neuronal necroses were evaluated in the hippocampus 7 days after a 10-min forebrain ischemia. Preischemic application of ginkgolide B (50 mg/kg p.o.) significantly reduced neuronal damage. It is suggested that the antagonism of PAF is responsible for this beneficial effect of ginkgolide B.