In vivo and in vitro techniques were utilized to examine the influence of a protein synthesis blocker, cycloheximide (CHX), on the damaging effects of anoxia in the rat. CHX administered 1 h before transient (30 min) forebrain ischaemia increased the survival of animals, decreased body weight loss and reduced the occurrence of delayed degeneration in the CA1 pyramidal region. The same dose of CHX injected 1 h after ischaemia induced status epilepticus, a decrease in survival rate, and did not reduce weight loss or CA1 damage in any of the surviving rats. Electrophysiological techniques were then used to determine the effects of various periods of anoxia and aglycaemia (AA) on CA1 field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) in hippocampal slices incubated in the presence or absence of CHX. In CHX-treated slices, recuperation of EPSP amplitude (45±16%) was significantly greater than in control slices (9±9%) following an AA episode of 3 min 45 s. No difference was seen in the percent recuperation of EPSPs in the control and CHX-treated slices after shorter or longer episodes of AA. From these studies, it appears that CHX protects against the damaging effect of ischaemia in vivo or AA in vitro.