In homogenates of rat cerebral neocortex prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) was found to be quantitatively the main PG biosynthesized by a cytosolic PGD synthetase from endogenously released arachidonic acid. Amounts of 628 ng/g wet weight were found after 30-min incubation periods compared with basal levels of 2.3 ng/g wet weight. In human cerebral cortex, whether obtained at biopsy or postmortem, only small amounts of PGD2 (4.5-11.7 ng/g wet weight/30 min) were formed. Furthermore, PGD2, added to homogenates of human biopsy temporal cortex, was converted efficiently into 9 alpha,11 beta-PGF2 by a NADPH-dependent 11-ketoreductase as has been reported in other human tissues (liver and lung). PGF2 alpha was determined directly as the n-butylboronate derivative. It became clear that 9 alpha,11 beta-PGF2 was formed in considerably greater amounts than PGF2 alpha and that other metabolites are also formed. These results can account for the low amounts of PGD2 found in incubations of human brain tissue. The rat brain does not contain 11-ketoreductase activity. The present results indicate that the 9 alpha,11 beta-PGF2 must be considered along with other eicosanoids in pathophysiological situations in brain.