Following a myocardial infarction (MI), inflammatory cytokines are elevated in the brain, as well as in plasma, indicating that inflammation is occurring in the brain in addition to the periphery. Microglia are the immune cells in the central nervous system and can produce cytokines when they are activated by an insult or injury. In the present study, we investigated whether MI in rats induces activation of microglia in the brain. We used immunohistochemistry to detect CD11b (clone OX-42) and morphological changes to identify activated microglia. Compared to control rats that had undergone sham surgical procedures, there was a significant increase in activated microglia in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) following myocardial infarction. Activated microglia were not observed in the ventral hypothalamus, adjacent to the PVN, nor in the cortex, indicating the response was not the result of a generalized inflammatory reaction in the brain. Echocardiography and haemodynamic parameters after myocardial infarction indicated that reduced left ventricular function but congestive heart failure had not developed. In conclusion, microglia are activated in the PVN but not in the adjacent hypothalamus following myocardial infarction. The activated microglia may contribute to the increased local production of pro-inflammatory cytokines observed in the PVN after myocardial infarction and resulting in reduced left ventricular function.