Poststroke depression (PSD) occurs in approximately one-third of stroke survivors and is one of the serious sequelae of stroke. The onset of PSD causes delayed functional recovery by rehabilitation and also increases cognitive impairment. However, appropriate strategies for the therapy against ischemia-induced depression-like behaviors still remain to be developed. Such behaviors have been associated with a reduced level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In addition, accumulating evidence indicates the ability of stem cells to improve cerebral ischemia-induced brain injuries. However, it remains to be clarified as to the effect of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) on PSD and the association between BDNF level and PSD. Using NPCs, we investigated the effect of intravenous injection of NPCs on PSD. We showed that injection of NPCs improved ischemia-induced depression-like behaviors in the forced-swimming test and sucrose preference test without having any effect on the viable area between vehicle- and NPC-injected ischemic rats. The injection of NPCs prevented the decrease in the level of BDNF in the ipsilateral hemisphere. The levels of phosphorylated CREB, ERK and Akt, which have been implicated in events downstream of BDNF signaling, were also decreased after cerebral ischemia. NPC injection inhibited these decreases in the phosphorylation of CREB and ERK, but not that of Akt. Our findings provide evidence that injection of NPCs may have therapeutic potential for the improvement of depression-like behaviors after cerebral ischemia and that these effects might be associated with restoring BDNF-ERK-CREB signaling.