The present study investigated the neuroprotective potential of two novel polyamine analogues, BU43b and BU36b, when administered 30 min prior to cerebral ischaemia. Neuroprotection in a permanent and a transient focal cerebral ischaemia mouse model (induced by intraluminal middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO)) was investigated using a range of histological and behavioural assessments. In the permanent ischaemia model, BU43b reduced oedema and showed a trend towards reduction in %HLV (percentage hemisphere lesion volume) when administered at a dose of 30 mg/kg i.p. Following transient ischaemia, treatment with BU43b decreased the %HLV and reduced oedema when administered at 30 mg/kg. BU43b also improved the locomotor activity (LMA) in MCAO mice at both 20 mg/kg and 30 mgfkg doses. BU36b was less effective than BU43b in both the permanent and the transient models, with its most pronounced effect being a trend towards reduction in oedema in both models. These results demonstrate that BU43b administered 30 min before ischaemia provided a good level of neuroprotection in the two models of cerebral ischaemia used and may have potential as a neuroprotective treatment for stroke. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.