Endothelin 1 (ET-1) is one of the most powerful vasoconstrictors in the brain. Its expression is upregulated after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is a major factor in the ensuing hypoperfusion. Attenuation of ET-1 effects has been mainly achieved by blockade of its receptors. The result of a direct blockade of ET-1 mRNA synthesis is not known. We used the Marmarou's model to inflict injury to male Sprague-Dawley rats injected with antisense ET-1 oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) before injury. Laser Doppler flowmetry in noninjured rats (2 groups, i.e., untreated and animals that received cODNs) revealed a constant cerebral blood flow of approximately 14 mL·min-1·100 g-1, whereas the values from injured animals pretreated with control ODNs (cODNs) or from animals subjected to TBI alone were approximately 8.0 mL·min-1·100 g-1 during the 18-48 h time period post-TBI. After antisense ET-1 ODNs pretreatment, however, cerebral blood flow in injured animals was approximately 17 mL·min-1·100 g-1 during the 6-48 h time period. Antisense ET-1 ODNs-treated animals also had 19%-29% larger microvessel cross-sectional area and approximately one-third less ET-1 immunoreactivity in the 50-75% range after injury than did cODNs-treated animals after TBI. The results indicate that this direct in vivo approach is an effective therapeutic intervention for the restoration of cerebral blood flow after TBI.