Aim: To assess the acute effect of 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCE) on rat brain using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). Materials and Methods: We performed dMRI on 30 male Sprague-Dawley rats, microstructural alterations were investigated by calculating the mean fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) changes in eight selected brain regions of interest. For the whole brain, clusters of 20+ voxels that differed significantly in FA and ADC between groups were marked. Hematoxylin-eosin staining was performed to confirm pathological changes. Results: Brain images showed lesions with brain edema in the white matter in both hemispheres in all groups exposed to 1,2-DCE. Diffusivity values were significantly different after 1,2-DCE inhalation (p<0.05). Conclusion: Primarily cytotoxic edema occurred in acute 1,2-DCE-induced brain edema in rats. dMRI could be used for the early non-invasive detection of acute 1,2-DCE-induced toxic encephalopathy.