Infarct volume and edema were assessed after transient focal ischemia in mice lacking neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) gene expression. With use of an 8-0 coated monofilament, the middle cerebral artery (MCA) of mutant (n = 32) and wild-type mice [SV-129 (n = 31), C57Black/6 (n = 18)] were occluded for 3 h and reperfused for up to 24 h. Regional CBF (rCBF), neurological deficits, water content, and infarct volume were examined in all three strains. rCBF, blood pressure, and heart rate did not differ between groups when measured for 1 h after reperfusion. Neurological deficits were less severe in mutant mice after MCA occlusion. Brain water content at 3 h after reperfusion and infarct volume at 24 h after reperfusion were greater in wild-type mice. These data indicate that genetic deletion of neuronal NOS confers resistance to focal ischemic injury in a reperfusion model. The findings agree with previous studies showing that tissue injury is less extensive after both permanent MCA occlusion and global ischemia in mice lacking neuronal NOS gene expression. Hence, NO may play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of ischemic brain damage.