Effect of Ginkgo biloba extract was examined on dissociated rat cerebellar neurons suffering from oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide using a flow cytometer and ethidium bromide. Hydrogen peroxide at a concentration of 3 mM increased the number of neurons stained with ethidium (presumably dead neurons) in a time-dependent manner. Pretreatment of neurons with G. biloba extract (10 micrograms/ml) greatly delayed a time-dependent increase in number of dead neurons during exposure to hydrogen peroxide. It was true, but less effective, in the case of treatment with G. biloba extract immediately or 60 min after start of oxidative stress. Results implicate G. biloba extract as a potential agent in protecting the neurons suffering from oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide.