Cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) has been studied in terms of a contraction of the major cerebral arteries, but the effect of cerebrum tissue in SAH is not yet well understood. To gain insight into the biology of SAH-expressing cerebrum, we employed oligonucleotide microarrays to characterize the gene expression profiles of cerebrum tissue at the early stage of SAH. Functional gene expression in the cerebrum was analyzed 2 h following stage 1-hemorrhage in Sprague-Dawley rats. mRNA was investigated by performing microarray and quantitative real-time PCR analyses, and protein expression was determined by Western blot analysis. In this study, 18 upregulated and 18 downregulated genes displayed at least a 1.5-fold change. Five genes were verified by real-time PCR, including three upregulated genes [prostaglandin E synthase (PGES), CD14 antigen, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP1)] as well as two downregulated genes [KRAB-zinc finger protein-2 (KZF-2) and γ-aminobutyric acid B receptor 1 (GABA B receptor)]. Notably, there were functional implications for the three upregulated genes involved in the inflammatory SAH process. However, the mechanisms leading to decreased KZF-2 and GABA B receptor expression in SAH have never been characterized. We conclude that oligonucleotide microarrays have the potential for use as a method to identify candidate genes associated with SAH and to provide novel investigational targets, including genes involved in the immune and inflammatory response. Furthermore, understanding the regulation of MMP9/TIMP1 during the early stages of SAH may elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms in SAH rats.