Triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) and cresyl violet (CV) staining are routinely used methods to determine cerebral infarct volume and area. In this study, we compared these staining techniques using the mouse middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model of focal ischerma. Male C57BL6 mice were subjected to a 90 min transient MCAO and sacrificed at 24 h reperfusion. Sham operated mice served as controls. Two millimeters coronal brain slices were cut at +1.3, -0.7, -2.7 and -4.7 mm from bregma. The sections were stained with 2% TTC for 20 min and the caudal face of each slice was scanned with a flatbed scanner. The sections were kept in 4% parafonnaldehyde solution for 4 weeks (the solution was changed every week). The slices were cryosectioned (40 mum thick), mounted on slides and stained with CV and scanned. The infarct volume and area were measured by the image-J program for both the staining techniques. There was no significant difference in either infarct area or volume between the TTC and CV stained sections (P > 0.05). TTC and CV staining showed a high degree of correlation in infarct area and volume indicating that both methods are suitable for producing accurate measurements of cerebral experimental infarcts. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.