Lipoxygenase pathway products of arachidonic acid (AA) metabolism (known as leukotrienes, LTs) are produced in the brain during pathologic conditions such as ischemia, hemorrhage, trauma, and seizure in which the release of AA is sustained by the activation of local phospholipases. The most common type of LT in the central nervous system is an LTC4 which is a highly potent vasoconstrictor leading to increase in vascular permeability. In this study, we compared the serum (S) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and LTC4 levels in 13 consecutively admitted patients with acute cerebral ischemia aged 55-80 years with 10 age-matched controls. Patients with previous glucocorticosteroid and antiinflammatory drug usage were not included in the study. S and CSF samples were drawn during the first 72 h of the attack, and samples were evaluated by bioassay. There was no significant difference in S PGE2 and LTC4 values, whereas a significant difference was observed between CSF PGE2 and LTC4 values as compared with the control group. The high levels of CSF PGE2 and LTC4-like activity in acute cerebral ischemia may indicate that these mediators have a role to play in cerebral edema. The CSF PGE2/LTC4 ratio was also found to be reduced in the ischemic group implying higher LTC4 synthesis than PGE2 synthesis. In the light of these findings, we suggest that use of a selective antagonist of LTs may be helpful in reducing the ischemic penumbra during acute cerebral ischemia by controlling the vasogenic edema.