Abstract Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is involved on the development of cerebral edema in acute ischemic stroke. As edema is a therapeutic target in cerebral ischemia, our aim was to study the effect of antagonists for ET-1 receptors (Clazosentan® and BQ-788, specific antagonists for receptors A and B, respectively) on the development of edema, infarct volume and sensorial-motor deficits in rats subjected to ischemia by occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCAO). We used Wistar rats (280-320 g) submitted to ischemia by intraluminal transient (90 min) MCAO. After ischemia, rats were randomized into 4 groups (n = 6) treated with; 1) control group (saline), 2) Clazosentan® group (10 mg/kg iv), 3) BQ-788 group (3 mg/kg iv), and 4) combined treatment (Clazosentan® 10 mg/kg plus BQ-788 3 mg/kg iv). We observed that rats treated with Clazosentan® showed a reduction of edema, measured by MRI, at 72 h (hours) and at day 7 (both p < 0.0001), and a decrease in the serum levels of ET-1 at 72 h (p < 0.0001) and at day 7 (p = 0.009). The combined treatment also induced a reduction of edema at 24 h (p = 0.004), 72 h (p < 0.0001) and at day 7 (p < 0.0001), a reduction on infarct volume, measured by MRI, at 24 and 72 h, and at day 7 (all p < 0.01), and a better sensorimotor recovery at 24 and 72 h, and at day 7 (all p < 0.01). Moreover, Clazosentan® induced a decrease in AQP4 expression, while BQ-788 induced an increase in AQP9 expression. These results suggest that antagonists for ET-1 receptors may be a good therapeutic target for cerebral ischemia.