Inflammation is implicated in the onset and progression of various diseases, including cerebral pathologies. Here, we report that DJ-1, which plays a role within cells as an antioxidant protein, functions as a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) and triggers inflammation if released from dead cells into the extracellular space. We first found that recombinant DJ-1 protein induces the production of various inflammatory cytokines in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) and dendritic cells (BMDCs). We further identified a unique peptide sequence in the αG and αH helices of DJ-1 that activates Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4. In the ischemic brain, DJ-1 is released into the extracellular space from necrotic neurons within 24 h after stroke onset and makes direct contact with TLR2 and TLR4 in infiltrating myeloid cells. Although DJ-1 deficiency in a murine model of middle cerebral artery occlusion did not attenuate neuronal injury, the inflammatory cytokine expression in infiltrating immune cells was significantly decreased. Next, we found that the administration of an antibody to neutralize extracellular DJ-1 suppressed cerebral post-ischemic inflammation and attenuated ischemic neuronal damage. Our results demonstrate a previously unknown function of DJ-1 as a DAMP and suggest that extracellular DJ-1 could be a therapeutic target to prevent inflammation in tissue injuries and neurodegenerative diseases.