Objective To study the expression profile of nucleus respiration factors (NRFs) and related genes in a rat neuron model after KCl(25mmol/L)-mediated membrane depolarization. Methods Primary cultured visual cortical neurons of newborn rats were stimulated with KCl (25mmol/L). The cells were collected at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10h after stimulation, and the intracellular RNA was extracted and amplified by RT-PCR. The expressions of NRFs subtypes (NRF-1, NRF-2α and NRF-2β) in neuron, upstream gene PGC-1 and downstream gene mtTFA were then examined. Results NRFs gene expressed differently after KCl stimulation: the expression of NRF-1 reached peak value two times at 3h and 7h, respectively, after simulation. NRF-2α reached the peak at 3h after simulation, and then it declined at 5h, followed by a rise again, and it then maintained at that level, while NRF-2β reached a peak value at 7h after stimulation. The expression of mtTFA expression reached peak value two times at 3h and 7h, respectively, after simulation, while the expression of PGC-1 was up-regulated progressively for two times, reaching the peak value at 10h after stimulation. The expressions of NRF-1, NRF-2α and NRF-2β were significantly different compared with that of controls (P<0.05). Conclusion NRFs in visual cortex have different reaction mode, and they may play different roles in response to stimulation.