Hypoxic/ischemic brain injury in the neonate can activate an inflammatory cascade, which potentiates cellular injury. The role of microglia in this inflammatory response has not been studied extensively. We used an in vitro model of murine microglia to investigate changes in microglial cytokine release and injury during early development. Isolated microglia were subjected to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activation or injury by glucose deprivation (GD), serum deprivation (SD), or combined oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) for varying durations. The extent and the type of cell death were determined by trypan blue, terminal deoxynucleotidyl end-nick labeling, and annexin staining. Early-culture microglia (2–3 d in purified culture) showed significantly more apoptotic cell death after SD, GD, and OGD compared with microglia maintained in culture for 14–17 d. Measurements of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and IL-1β in culture media demonstrated that OGD induced greater release of both TNF-α and IL-1β than LPS activation, with early-culture microglia producing more TNF-α compared with late-culture microglia. Microglia that are cultured for a short time are more sensitive to ischemia-like injury in vitro than those that are cultured for longer durations and may contribute to worsening brain injury by increased release of inflammatory cytokines. Inhibition of microglial activation and decreasing proinflammatory cytokine release may be targets for reduction of neonatal hypoxic/ischemic brain injury.