Cerebral microemboli were formed in rats by injecting 4,000 carbonized microspheres, 50 ± 10 ix in diameter, labelled with 85Sr, into the internal carotid artery. The use of radioactive microspheres as embolic agents enabled the number of microspheres to be determined in each cerebral hemisphere. The microspheres were mainly distributed in the cerebral hemisphere on the side of the injection. In 61 rats this hemisphere contained 582 ± 20 microspheres against 99 ± 9 in the contralateral hemisphere. Brain edema was assessed by measuring brain content of water, sodium and potassium. Blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability was determined by brain accumulation of 125I-albumin. In the ipsilateral hemisphere brain edema and an increase in BBB permeability appeared 6 hours after embolization and progressed up to 48 hours. Twenty-four hours after embolization, significant correlations were observed between the microsphere content of the cerebral hemispheres and 1) the increases in water and sodium levels, 2) the decrease in potassium level, 3) the increase in BBB permeability. The study of these correlations should make it possible to ignore the poor reproducibility of embolizations and to analyze with'increased accuracy the results of various experiments.