Before exocytotic release of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, this amino acid has to be stored in synaptic vesicles. Accumulation of GABA in vesicles is achieved by a specific membrane-integrated transporter termed vesicular GABA transporter. This vesicular protein is mainly located at presynaptic terminals of GABAergic interneurons. In the present study we investigated the effects of focal ischemia on the expression of the vesicular GABA transporter. Vesicular GABA transporter mRNA and protein expression was examined after photothrombosis in different cortical and hippocampal brain regions of Wistar rats. In situ hybridization and quantitative real-time RT-PCR were performed to analyze vesicular GABA transporter mRNA. Both vesicular GABA transporter mRNA-stained perikarya and mRNA expression levels remained unaffected. Vesicular GABA transporter protein-containing synaptic terminals and somata were visualized by immunohistochemistry. The pattern of vesicular GABA transporter immunoreactivity as well as the protein expression level revealed by semiquantitative image analysis and by Western blot remained stable after stroke. The steady expression of vesicular GABA transporter mRNA and protein after photothrombosis indicates that the exocytotic release mechanism of GABA is not affected by ischemia.