Cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) is a common neurological disease. Homeobox A11 antisense RNA (HOXA11-AS), a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), has been demonstrated as an important regulator in diverse human cancers. However, its function and regulatory mechanism in ischemic stroke remains largely unknown. Dexmedetomidine (Dex) have received wide attraction because of its neuroprotective effects. This study aimed to explore the possible link between Dex and HOXA11-AS in protecting neuronal cells from by ischemia/reperfusion-induced apoptosis. We used oxygen–glucose deprivation and reoxygenation (OGD/R) in mouse neuroblastoma Neuro-2a cells and middle cerebral artery occlusion (MACO) mouse model to test the link. We found that Dex significantly alleviated OGD/R-induced DNA fragmentation, cell viability and apoptosis, and rescued the decreased HOXA11-AS expression after ischemic damage in Neuro-2a cells. Gain-/loss-of-function studies revealed that HOXA11-AS promoted proliferation, inhibited apoptosis in Neuro-2a cells exposed to OGD/R. Knockdown of HOXA11-AS decreased the protective effect of Dex on OGD/R cells. HOXA11-AS was found to transcriptionally regulate microRNA-337-3p (miR-337-3p) expression as evidenced by luciferase reporter assay, while miR-337-3p expression was upregulated following ischemia in vitro and in vivo. Besides, knockdown of miR-337-3p protected OGD/R-induced apoptotic death of Neuro-2a cells. Furthermore, HOXA11-AS functioned as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) and competed with Y box protein 1 (Ybx1) mRNA for directly binding to miR-337-3p, which protected ischemic neuronal death. Dex treatment protected against ischemic damage and improved overall neurological functions in vivo. Our data suggest a novel mechanism of Dex neuroprotection for ischemic stroke through regulating lncRNA HOXA11-AS by targeting the miR-337-3p/Ybx1 signaling pathway, which might help develop new strategies for the therapeutic interventions in cerebral ischemic stroke.