Accumulating evidence indicates that resveratrol potently protects against cerebral ischemia damage due to its oxygen free radicals scavenging and antioxidant properties. However, cellular mechanisms that may underlie the neuroprotective effects of resveratrol in brain ischemia are not fully understood yet. This study aimed to investigate the potential association between the neuroprotective effect of resveratrol and the apoptosis/survival signaling pathways, in particular the glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3β) and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)-dependent pathway. An experimental model of global cerebral ischemia was induced in rats by the four-vessel occlusion method for 10 min and followed by different periods of reperfusion. Nissl staining indicated extensive neuronal death at 7 days after ischemia/reperfusion. Administration of resveratrol by i.p. injections (30 mg/kg) for 7 days before ischemia significantly attenuated neuronal death. Both GSK-3β and CREB appear to play a critical role in resveratrol neuroprotection through the PI3-K/Akt pathway, as resveratrol pretreatment increased the phosphorylation of Akt, GSK-3β and CREB in 1 h in the CA1 hippocampus after ischemia/reperfusion. Furthermore, administration of LY294002, an inhibitor of PI3-K, compromised the neuroprotective effect of resveratrol and decreased the level of p-Akt, p-GSK-3β and p-CREB after ischemic injury. Taken together, the results suggest that resveratrol protects against delayed neuronal death in the hippocampal CA1 by maintaining the pro-survival states of Akt, GSK-3β and CREB pathways. These data suggest that the neuroprotective effect of resveratrol may be mediated through activation of the PI3-K/Akt signaling pathway, subsequently downregulating expression of GSK-3β and CREB, thereby leading to prevention of neuronal death after brain ischemia in rats.