BACKGROUND Ischemia-reperfusion injury is caused by a blood reperfusion injury in ischemic brain tissue, and usually occurs in the treatment stage of ischemic disease, which can aggravate brain tissue injury. MiR-122 is closely related to ischemia-reperfusion injury in the myocardium, kidney, and liver; however, the role in cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury has not been established. MATERIAL AND METHODS In this study, cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury was established in a rat model, and the control group was a sham-operated group. After ischemia-reperfusion injury for 6, 12, and 24 hours, brain tissue specimens were collected and the expression of miR-122 and DJ-1 were determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Flow cytometry was used to determine the reactive oxygen species (ROS) content. The modified Neurological Severity Score (mNSS) scale was used to evaluate the sensory and motor function defects of the rats. The malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and enzyme activity were determined. The rats in the cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury model were divided into 2 groups (antagomir-NC group and antagomir miR-122 group). Brain neuron RN-c cells were divided into the following 4 groups: antagomir-NC, antagomir miR-122, pIRES2-blank, and pIRES2-DJ-1. Seventy-two hours after transfection, ischemia-reperfusion treatment was carried out and conventional cultured RN-c cells were used as the control group. Flow cytometry was used to detect apoptosis and western blot was used to detect the expression of DJ-1, PTEN, AKT, and p-AKT. RESULTS The expression of miR-122 increased significantly in the process of ischemia-reperfusion damage after cerebral infarction, while the expression of DJ-1 decreased significantly. Downregulation of miR-122 significantly increased the expression of DJ-1, enhanced the activity of the PTEN/PI3K/AKT pathway, reduced cell apoptosis, and alleviated cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury. CONCLUSIONS Inhibition of miR-122 can decrease cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury by upregulating DJ-1-PTEN/PI3K/AKT pathway.