Apoptosis after global or focal cerebral ischemia plays a crucial role in mediating cell death. In this study, we observed the time point expression of physiologic events involving apoptosis regulatory proteins after photochemically-induced focal cerebral ischemia in Sprague-Dawley rats. Protein expression was evaluated at days 1, 3, and 7 by Western blot. Bcl-2, Bax, caspase-3, and phosphorylated Akt (pAkt) activity markedly increased in the ischemic hemisphere in a time-dependent manner, not affected. The expression of Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3 was dramatically changed around day 3, whereas changes in pAkt expression occurred at day 1. Differential elevation of these apoptosis regulatory proteins at various time points indicates that different modes of cell death occur in photochemically-induced focal cerebral ischemia in a rat brain.