The implication of low affinity nerve growth factor receptor (p75NGFR), which is believed to play a pro-apoptotic role, in delayed neuronal death (DND) after ischemia in the gerbil hippocampus was investigated. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis revealed that the presence of p75 NGFR immunoreactivity (IR) was negligible in the hippocampus of the sham control gerbil but appeared clearly in CA1 neurons 3 and 4 days after 5-min transient ischemia. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated UTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) positive nuclei appeared when the level of p75NGFR IR increased. Furthermore, almost all TUNEL-positive CA1 neurons also costained for p75NGFR. These results suggest that p75NGFR contributes to DND after ischemia by an apoptotic mechanism.