In this review, we summarize the role of hyperglycemia during cerebral ischemia. Hyperglycemia occurring during experimental and clinical stroke has been associated with increased cerebral damage. Increased oxidative stress resulting from hyperglycemia is believed to contribute to the exacerbated damage. More specifically, superoxide, nitric oxide and peroxynitrite are believed to play an important role in cerebral damage. This also involves increased recruitment of various blood cells to the ischemic zone that contribute to inflammation. We present data from our group and others that demonstrate that free radical production is increased during hyperglycemic stroke in rodents. Recent data suggest that inflammation is an important component of ischemic damage under both normo- and hyperglycemic conditions. We summarize numerous studies that indicate that a variety of antioxidant (inhibition of free radical production, scavenging of free radicals and increasing free radical degradation) and anti-inflammatory strategies decrease cerebral infarction. Finally, we compare the success of some of these strategies in clinical trials compared to the animal models.