OBJECTIVES: Cerebral ischemia seriously threatens human health and is characterized by high rates of incidence, disability and death. Developing an ideal animal model of cerebral ischemia that reflects the human clinical features is critical for pathological studies and clinical research. The goal of this study is to establish a local cerebral ischemia model in rhesus macaque, thereby providing an optimal animal model to study cerebral ischemia. METHODS: Eight healthy rhesus monkeys were selected for this study. CT scans were performed before the operation to exclude cerebral vascular and intracranial lesions. Under guidance and monitoring with digital subtraction angiography (DSA), a microcatheter was inserted into the M1 segment of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) via the femoral artery. Then, autologous white thrombi were introduced to block blood flow. Immediately following embolization, multisequence MRI was used to monitor cerebrovascular and brain parenchymal conditions. Twenty-four hours after embolization, 2 monkeys were sacrificed and subjected to perfusion, fixation and pathological examination. RESULTS: The cerebral ischemia model was established in 7 rhesus monkeys; one animal died during intubation. DSA and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) indicated the presence of an arterial occlusion. MRI showed acute local cerebral ischemia. HE staining revealed infarct lesions formed in the brain tissues, and thrombi were present in the cerebral artery. CONCLUSION: We established a rhesus macaque model of local cerebral ischemia by autologous thrombus placement. This model has important implications for basic and clinical research on cerebral ischemia. MRI and DSA can evaluate the models to ensure accuracy and effectiveness.