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Despite extensive research over the years, there still exists some debate as to what constitutes the optimal therapeutic strategy to promote recovery following stroke. Due to the complexity of injured brain pathophysiology, treatment approaches should ideally address numerous factors, ultimately aiming to promote tissue protection, axonal regrowth and functional recovery. This study extends the understanding of the effects of bone marrow stromal cell (BMSC) treatment following experimentally induced ischemic stroke in rats. Focal ischemic brain injury was experimentally induced in rats by placing a preformed clot into the middle cerebral artery. Animals were injected intravenously with BMSCs at 24 h after stroke and were killed 7 days post injury. When administered BMSCs following stroke, the neurological outcome was significantly improved relative to controls. There was an increase in the number of BMSCs labelled with BrdU present in the injured hemisphere of the brain compared to the non-injured side. Furthermore, administration of BMSCs also led to increases in astrocytosis, vascularization and endogenous proliferation. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms of action of BMSC treatment and further argue for the therapeutic potential of BMSCs as an effective treatment following cerebral stroke.