The brain is particularly vulnerable to ischaemia; however, neurons can become tolerant to ischaemic insult. This tolerance has been shown to involve activation of NMDA receptors, but its mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. Using a preconditioning protocol, we show that neurons surviving to a transient NMDA exposure become resistant to the glutamatergic agonist. Using a proteomic approach, we found that alterations of the protein pattern of NMDA-resistant neurons are restricted mainly to the five collapsin response mediator proteins (CRMPs). A sustained increase in calpain activity following NMDA treatment is responsible for the production of cleaved CRMPs. Finally, we provide evidence for the involvement of the cleaved form of WT-CRMP2 in the down-regulation of NR2B. Our data suggests that, beside their role in neuronal morphogenesis, CRMPs may contribute to neuronal plasticity.