The sodium-potassium activated and magnesium dependent adenosine-5'-triphosphatase (Na+-K+/Mg+2 ATPase EC.188.8.131.52.) activity and lipid peroxidation and early ultrastructural findings were determined in rat brain at the acute stage of ischaemia produced by permanent unilateral occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). The effects of the pretreatment with intravenous high-dose methylprednisolone (MP) on these biochemical indices and ultrastructural findings were also evaluated in the same model. The rats were divided into four groups. In group I, 10 rats were used to determine Na+-K+/Mg+2 ATPase activity and the extent of lipid peroxidation by measuring the malondialdehyde (MDA) content and normal ultrastructural findings. In group II on 20 rats, only subtemporal craniectomy was done in order to determine the effects of the surgical procedure on these indices and findings. This group was treated intravenously with saline solution before occlusion. In group III with MCA occlusion, saline solution was administered intravenously to 20 rats in the same amount of methylprednisolone used in group IV, ten minutes before the occlusion. In Group IV, a single high-dose (30 mg/kg) of methylprednisolone was administered intravenously, ten minutes before occlusion in 20 rats. After occlusion of the middle cerebral artery, Na+-K+/Mg+2 ATPase activity was decreased promptly in the first ten minutes in the ischaemic hemisphere and remained at a lower level than the contralateral hemispheres in the same group and the normal levels in group I, during 120 minutes of ischaemia. A single dose methylprednisolone pretreatment prohibited the inactivation of Na+-K+/Mg+2 ATPase. On the other hand, there was significant difference in malondialdehyde content between group I and group III. Malondialdehyde levels were significantly increased following ischaemia and a non-significant increase was observed in the contralateral hemisphere. Methylprednisolone treatment significantly decreased malondialdehyde content on the side of the ischaemic hemisphere. We conclude that there is a positive relationship between membrane-bound enzyme Na+-K+/Mg+2 ATPase activity, malondialdehyde content and early ultrastructural changes in the treated group with MP.