Several studies have been suggested that long-term exposure to stress has detrimental effects on various brain functions and leads to neurodegenerative changes. However, the precise mechanism by which stress induces brain damage or neurodegenerative change is still a matter of debate. This study investigated the damage of neuronal cells involving in the expression of iNOS, NR1, and GFAP in various brain regions and characterized the change of sphingolipid metabolites as a biomarker of physiological change in serum after 3 weeks of repeated immobilization. In this report, the expression of iNOS, GFAP and NR1 in the brain of rats exposed to chronic immobilization stress was investigated. The expression of iNOS, GFAP and NR1 was elevated in the cortex and hippocampal area after 3 weeks of repeated immobilization. Immunoreactivity for GFAP and vimentin, as a marker of reactive gliosis, was also elevated in the cortex and hippocampus. The level of sphingolipids was measured in order to assess the changes in sphingolipid metabolites in the serum of rats exposed to stress. Interestingly, the level of So-1-P was increased in the plasma of rats subjected to 6-h immobilization stress than repeated immobilization. To further investigate the modulating effect of increased So-1-P in various brain regions, So-1-P was infused into the lateral cerebroventricle at a rate of 100 pmol/10 μl/h for 7 days. The expression of iNOS and NR1 was elevated in the cortex, hippocampus, striatum, and cerebellum after So-1-P infusion into the cerebroventricle, while the level of GFAP was elevated in the hippocampus and striatum. Interestingly, the expression levels of iNOS, GFAP, and NR1 were increased by the direct application of So-1-P to cultured cortical cells. These results suggest that NO production via iNOS expression, the NR1 expression, the activation of astrocytes, and the elevation of So-1-P may cause neurodegenerative changes in rats subjected to chronic immobilization and that the elevation of So-1-P by stress exposure would be one of the stress signal molecules.