Wild-type inducible Hsp70 (WT) and 2 folding deficient mutants protect the brain against focal cerebral ischemia in vivo and brain cells from oxygen–glucose deprivation (OGD) in vitro, but the protective mechanisms remain unclear. Mitochondria are central to both normal physiological function and the regulation of cell death. We tested the effect of overexpressing Hsp70 and 2 mutants, Hsp70-K71E, an adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase)-deficient point mutant, and Hsp70-381–640, a deletion mutant lacking the ATPase domain on mitochondrial physiology under glucose deprivation (GD) stress in primary cultured astrocytes. Mitochondrial membrane potential was assessed using a potentiometric fluorescent dye tetramethylrhodamine ethyl ester (TMRE). By 5 hours of GD, the mitochondria in the LXSN control transfected astrocytes had markedly reduced membrane potential. However, in the Hsp70-WT, -K71E, and -381–640 groups, there was no apparent change in TMRE signal during 5 hours of GD. Oxygen consumption was measured to assess oxidative respiration. Overexpression of Hsp70-K71E and -381–640 prevented the decrease in state III respiration observed at 5 hours, and all 3 prevented the increase in state IV respiration found in LXSN controls after 5 hours of GD. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was assessed with hydroethidine. Hsp70 and its mutants all significantly reduced the increases in ROS accumulation during 5 hours of GD. The results demonstrate that the protective effect of the carboxyl-terminal half of Hsp70 and of the full-length molecule is associated with better maintained mitochondrial membrane potential, better maintained state IV respiration, and reduced ROS generation during GD.