We investigated the effect of ebselen relative to nimodipine in an animal model of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Thirty Wistar albino rats were divided into 5 groups: G1, no intervention; G2, sham surgery without subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH); G3, SAH only; G4, SAN plus nimodipine treatment; G5, SAN plus ebselen treatment. For G2 animals, physiological saline (0.9% NaCl) was injected into the cisterna magna. For G3, G4 and G5 animals, SAH was induced by injecting autologous non-heparinized blood into the cisterna magna. One hour after injection, G4 animals received nimodipine at 6-hour intervals and G5 animals received ebselen twice a day for 48 hours. After treatment, brain tissue and blood samples were taken for biochemical and histopathological examination. Mean malonyldialdehyde concentration was significantly higher in G3 than in G1 (p < 0.0001), G2 (p = 0.01), G4 (p = 0.002) and G5 (p = 0.014), and significantly higher in G5 than in Cl (p = 0.013). Mean superoxide dismutase activity was significantly lower in G4 than in both Cl (p = 0.025) and G2 (p = 0.02). Mean wall thickness was significantly greater in G3 than in Cl (p < 0.0001), G2 (p = 0.01), G4 (p < 0.0001) and G5 (p < 0.0001). Mean wall thickness was also significantly greater in both Cl and G2 than in G4 (p < 0.0014 and p < 0.0001) and G5 (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.0001). Mean luminal diameter of the basilar artery was significantly smaller in G3 than in G2 (p = 0.02), G4 (p < 0.018) and G5 (p < 0.001). Our results confirm that ebselen may have neuroprotective effects by acting to prevent vasospasm. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.