© The Author(s) 2018. Neuronal preconditioning in vitro or in vivo with a stressful but non-lethal stimulus leads to new protein expression that mediates a profound neuroprotection against glutamate excitotoxicity and experimental stroke. The proteins that mediate neuroprotection are relatively unknown and under discovery. Here we find that the expression of the AAA + ATPase Thorase is induced by preconditioning stimulation both in vitro and in vivo. Thorase provides neuroprotection in an ATP-dependent manner against oxygen–glucose deprivation (OGD) neurotoxicity or glutamate N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated excitotoxicity in vitro. Knock-down of Thorase prevents the establishment of preconditioning induced neuroprotection against OGD or NMDA neurotoxicity. Transgenic overexpression of Thorase provides neuroprotection in vivo against middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO)-induced stroke in mice, while genetic deletion of Thorase results in increased injury in vivo following stroke. These results define Thorase as a neuroprotective protein and understanding Thorase signaling could offer a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of neurologic disorders.