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To explore the molecular mechanism of brain tissue injury induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), we studied the effects of endotoxic shock on rat brain cortex NF-κB and the effects of dexamethasone on these changes. Rats were randomly divided into LPS, LPS + dexamethasone, and control groups. The DNA-binding activity of NF-κB was observed using electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). Protein expression in nuclear extracts was studied using Western blots, and nuclear translocation was observed using immunohistochemistry. These indices were assayed at 1 h and 4 h after intravenous injection of LPS (4 mg·kg−1). EMSA showed significantly increased NF-κB DNA-binding activity in nuclear extracts from the LPS group at both 1 h and 4 h after LPS injection, compared with the control group (P < 0.01). For the LPS group, the NF-κB DNA-binding activity was greater at 1 h than at 4 h (P < 0.05). The expression of p65 and p50 protein in the nuclear extracts was also increased, as compared with the control group. However, the expression of p65 and p50 protein from cytosolic extracts did not show any significant change. Dexamethasone down-regulated not only NF-κB DNA-binding activity but also the expression of p65 protein in the nuclear extracts. From these data, we have concluded that NF-κB activation and nuclear translocation of NF-κB play a key role in the molecular mechanism of brain tissue injury in endotoxic shock. Dexamethasone may alleviate brain injury by inhibiting NF-κB activation.