In cerebral tissues, due to continuous and high metabolic demand, energy is produced exclusively by mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Obstruction of blood flow leads to cerebral ischemia, hypoxia and decreased cellular ATP production. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated as by-product of OXPHOS alter many intracellular signaling pathways and result in damaged cellular components. Under such hypoxic conditions, a key factor known as hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF1) is stabilized and activated and such activation induces expression of a defined set of target genes which are required for cell survival and angiogenesis. Reperfusion that follows such ischemia alters signaling pathways which are involved in cellular fate. Here, we will review the role of ROS, HIF-1 alpha and other signaling network in mitochondrial dysfunction and cell fate determination in ischemia-reperfusion models in the brain. We will also address both current and future therapeutic strategies for clinical significance that are being developed for treatment of cerebral ischemia.