Several lines of evidence point to inflammation and increased oxidant injury in brain regions of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD). Prostaglandin H synthase (PGHS) catalyzes the limiting step in prostaglandin synthesis and generates a potent oxidizing agent as by-product. One form of PGHS, PGHS-2, is induced by pro-inflammatory signals; thus leading to the 2-step hypothesis that pro-inflammatory signals in AD brain induce PGHS-2 that in turn contributes to brain oxidant injury. Here we have tested directly this 2-step hypothesis in a murine reovirus type 3 encephalitis model by measuring cerebral PGHS activity and quantifying oxidant injury. Our results showed a robust chronic inflammatory infiltrate and a 2-fold increase in PGHS activity in encephalitic mice compared with controls. Despite these changes, there was no significant increase in F2-isoprostanes or F4-neuroprostanes, accurate in vivo biomarkers of oxidant injury, and only minimal accumulation of protein adducts from the lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal in the most intensely inflamed brain regions. These results challenge the proposal of others that pro-inflammatory induction of PGHS activity significantly contributes to oxidant injury in brain.