Ischemic stroke, the main reason for severe disabilities in the world, is associated with a high incidence of sensorimotor and cognitive dysfunction. In this study, we use the middle cerebral artery occlusion/reperfusion (MCAO/R) model in rats and oxygen glucose deprivation/reoxygenation (OGD/R) model in fetal rat primary cortical neurons to investigate whether and how S-oxiracetam (S-ORC) protect brain injury from ischemic stroke. The results revealed that S-ORC reduced brain infarct size and lessened neurological dysfunction after stroke. Further study demonstrated that S-ORC diminished TUNEL positive cells, increased cell viability, decreased LDH activity, and inhibited cell apoptotic rate. Furthermore, S-ORC inhibited neuronal apoptosis by activating the PI3K/Akt/GSK3β signaling pathway via α7 nAChR, which was evidenced by α7 nAChR siRNA. In conclusion, our findings strongly suggest that S-ORC could be used as an effective neuroprotective agent for ischemic stroke due to its effect in preventing neuronal apoptosis.