Local cerebral hemodynamics and oxygen metabolism were measured by positron emission tomography (PET) with the oxygen-15 (15O) steady-state method in baboons, immediately before (T0), 1 (T1), and 3-4 (T2) h after permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). At T1, there was a marked fall in both cerebral blood flow (CBF) and the CBF/cerebral blood volume (CBV) ratio in the occluded territory; these changes were sustained at T2, indicating stable reduction in cerebral perfusion pressure and lack of spontaneous reperfusion within this time range. Compared with preocclusion conditions, the oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) in the occluded territory was elevated at both T1 and T2, indicative of a persistent oligemia/ischemia for up to 3 h after MCAO. At T2, however, this OEF increase had lessened, concomitantly with a decline in cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2). This impairment of oxidative metabolism occurred earlier in the deep, compared with the cortical, MCA territories; in the latter, the CMRO2 was essentially preserved at T1 and only moderately reduced at T2, possibly suggesting prolonged viability. Finally, no significant changes in CBF or CMRO2 were observed in the contralateral MCA territory in this time range after MCAO. Despite methodological limitations (mainly partial volume effects related to PET imaging, which may have resulted in an underestimation of true changes and an overlooking of heterogeneous changes) our study demonstrates the feasibility of the combined PET-MCAO paradigm in baboons; this experimental approach should be valuable in investigating the pathophysiology and therapy of acute stroke.