The occurrence of hypoxia-ischemia (HI) in the developing brain is closely associated with neuronal injury and even death. However, the underlying molecular mechanism is not fully understood. This study was designed to investigate phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) nuclear translocation and its possible role in rat cortical neuronal damage following oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) in vitro. An in vitro OGD model was established using primary cortical neurons dissected from newborn Sprague-Dawley rats to mimic HI conditions. The PTENK13R mutant plasmid, which contains a lysine-to-arginine mutation at the lysine 13 residue, was constructed. The nuclei and cytoplasm of neurons were separated. Neuronal injury following OGD was evidenced by increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and apoptotic cell counts. In addition, PTEN expression was increased and the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (p-ERK1/2) and activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) were decreased following OGD. PTENK13R transfection prevented PTEN nuclear translocation; attenuated the effect of OGD on nuclear p-ERK1/2 and NF-κB, apoptosis, and LDH release; and increased the expression of several anti-apoptotic proteins. We conclude that PTEN nuclear translocation plays an essential role in neuronal injury following OGD via modulation of the p-ERK1/2 and NF-κB pathways. Prevention of PTEN nuclear translocation might be a candidate strategy for preventing brain injury following HI.