To investigate isoform-specific roles of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent phosphatase [calcineurin (CaN)] in ischemia-induced cell death, we raised antibodies specific to CaN Aα and CaN Aβ and localized the CaN isoforms in the hippocampal CA1 region of Mongolian gerbils subjected to a 5-min occlusion of carotid arteries. In the nonischemic gerbil, immunoreactions of both isoforms were highly enriched in CA1 regions, especially in the cytoplasm and apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons. At 4-7 days after the induced ischemia, immunoreactivities of the CaN Aα isoform in CA1 pyramidal cells were markedly reduced, whereas they were enhanced in the CA1 radiatum and oriens layers. In contrast, CaN Aβ immunoreactivities were reduced in all layers of the ischemic CA1 region, whereas they were enhanced in activated astrocytes, colocalizing with glial fibrillary acidic protein. These findings suggest that up-regulation of CaN Aα in afferent fibers in CA1 and up-regulation of CaN Aβ in reactive astrocytes may be involved in neuronal reorganization after ischemic injury.