Experimental studies have demonstrated that free radicals play a major role on neuronal injury during ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) in rats. Erdosteine is a thioderivative endowed with mucokinetic, mucolytic and free-radical-scavenging properties. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of erdosteine treatment against short-term global brain ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats. The study was carried out on Wistar rats divided into four groups. (i) Control group, (ii) ischemia/reperfusion group, (iii) ischemia/reperfusion + erdosteine group, and (iv) erdosteine group. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities as well as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARSs) and nitric oxide (NO) levels were analysed in erythrocyte and plasma of rats. Plasma NO levels were significantly higher in the ischemia/reperfusion group than the other groups. The activities of SOD and GSH-Px were decreased, while TBARS levels increased in the ischemia/reperfusion group compared to other groups in both plasma and erythrocyte. The erythrocyte CAT activity was higher in erdosteine group and there was a statistically significant increase, when compared with the erdosteine plus ischemia/reperfusion group. By treating the rats with erdosteine, the depletion of endogenous antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT, GSH-Px) and increase of TBARS and NO levels were prevented. This study, therefore, suggests that erdosteine reduces parameters of oxidative stress is well supported by the data. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.