Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world and a major cause of long-term disability. Recent evidence has provided insight into a newly described inflammatory mechanism that contributes to neuronal and glial cell death, and impaired neurological outcome following ischemic stroke - a form of sterile inflammation involving innate immune complexes termed inflammasomes. It has been established that inflammasome activation following ischemic stroke contributes to neuronal cell death, but little is known about inflammasome function and cell death in activated microglial cells following cerebral ischemia. Microglia are considered the resident immune cells that function as the primary immune defense in the brain. This study has comprehensively investigated the expression and activation of NLRP1, NLRP3, NLRC4 and AIM2 inflammasomes in isolates of microglial cells subjected to simulated ischemic conditions and in the brain following ischemic stroke. Immunoblot analysis from culture media indicated microglial cells release inflammasome components and inflammasome activation-dependent pro-inflammatory cytokines following ischemic conditions. In addition, a functional role for NLRC4 inflammasomes was determined using siRNA knockdown of NLRC4 and pharmacological inhibitors of caspase-1 and -8 to target apoptotic and pyroptotic cell death in BV2 microglial cells under ischemic conditions. In summary, the present study provides evidence that the NLRC4 inflammasome complex mediates the inflammatory response, as well as apoptotic and pyroptotic cell death in microglial cells under in vitro and in vivo ischemic conditions.