Doublecortin (DCX)-immunoreactive (-ir) cells are candidates that play key roles in adult cortical remodeling. We have previously reported that DCX-ir cells decrease after stress exposure or global brain ischemia (GBI) in the cingulate cortex (Cg) of rats. Herein, we investigate whether the decrease in DCX-ir cells is exacerbated after GBI due to acute stress exposure preconditioning. Twenty rats were divided into 3 groups: acute stress exposure before GBI (Group P), non-stress exposure before GBI (Group G), and controls (Group C). Acute stress or GBI was induced by a forced swim paradigm or by transient bilateral common carotid artery occlusion, respectively. DCX-ir cells were investigated in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and retrosplenial cortex (RS). The number of DCX-ir cells per unit area (mm(2)) decreased after GBI with or without stress preconditioning in the ACC and in the RS (ANOVA followed by a Tukey-type test, P<0.001). Moreover, compared to Group G, the number in Group P decreased significantly in RS (P<0.05), though not significantly in ACC. Many of the DCX-ir cells were co-localized with the GABAergic neuronal marker parvalbumin. The present study indicates that cortical remodeling potential of GABAergic neurons of Cg decreases after GBI, and moreover, the ratio of the decrease is exacerbated by acute stress preconditioning in the RS.