Treatment options in acute stroke are limited by a dearth of safe and effective regimens for recanalization of an occluded cerebrovascular tributary, as well as by the fact that patients present only after the occlusive event is established. We hypothesized that even if the site of major arterial occlusion is recanalized after stroke, microvascular thrombosis continues to occur at distal sites, reducing postischemic flow and contributing to ongoing neuronal death. To test this hypothesis, and to show that microvascular thrombosis occurs as an ongoing, dynamic process after the onset of stroke, we tested the effects of a potent antiplatelet agent given both before and after the onset of middle cerebral arterial (MCA) occlusion in a murine model of stroke. After 45 min of MCA occlusion and 23 h of reperfusion, fibrin accumulates in the ipsilateral cerebral hemisphere, based upon immunoblotting, and localizes to microvascular lumena, based upon immunostaining. In concordance with these data, there is a nearly threefold increase in the ipsilateral accumulation of 111In-labeled platelets in mice subjected to stroke compared with mice not subjected to stroke. When a novel inhibitor of the glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor (SDZ GPI 562) was administered immediately before MCA occlusion, platelet accumulation was reduced 48%, and fibrin accumulation was reduced by 47% by immunoblot densitometry. GPI 562 exhibited a dose-dependent reduction of cerebral infarct volumes measured by triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining, as well as improvement in postischemic cerebral blood flow, measured by laser doppler. GPI 562 caused a dose-dependent increase in tail vein bleeding time, but intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) was not significantly increased at therapeutic doses; however, there was an increase in ICH at the highest doses tested. When given immediately after withdrawal of the MCA occluding suture, GPI 562 was shown to reduce cerebral infarct volumes by 70%. These data support the hypothesis that in ischemic regions of brain, microvascular thrombi continue to accumulate even after recanalization of the MCA, contributing to postischemic hypoperfusion and ongoing neuronal damage.