Data from the Framingham Heart Study suggest that women may be more sensitive to the deleterious cardiovascular remodeling effects of aldosterone. Previous studies from our laboratory have shown that chronic treatment with spironolactone, a mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonist, decreases ischemic cerebral infarct size and prevents remodeling of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in male spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats (SHRSP). Therefore, we hypothesized that MR antagonism would reduce ischemic infarct size and prevent MCA remodeling in female SHRSP. Six-week-old female SHRSP were treated for 6 wk with spironolactone (25 or 50 mg·kg-1·day -1) or eplerenone (100 mg·kg-1·day -1) and compared with untreated controls. At 12 wk, cerebral ischemia was induced for 18 h using the intraluminal suture occlusion technique, or the MCA was isolated for analysis of passive structure using a pressurized arteriograph. MR antagonism had no effect on infarct size or passive MCA structure in female SHRSP. To study the potential effects of estrogen, the above experiments were repeated in bilaterally ovariectomized (OVX) female SHRSP treated with spironolactone (25 mg·kg-1·day -1). Infarct size and vessel structure in OVX SHRSP were not different from control SHRSP. Spironolactone had no effect on infarct size in OVX SHRSP. However, MCA lumen and outer diameters were increased in spironolactone-treated OVX SHRSP, suggesting an effect of estrogen. Cerebral artery MR expression, assessed by Western blotting, was increased in female, compared with male, SHRSP. These studies highlight an apparent sexual dimorphism of MR expression and activity in the cerebral vasculature from hypertensive rats. Copyright © 2007 the American Physiological Society.