This work attempts to discuss whether dexmedetomidine (Dex) can protect rats from postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) through regulating the γ-aminobutyric acid-B receptor (GABAB R)-mediated cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) - protein kinase A (PKA) - cAMP-response element binding (cAMP-PKA-CREB) signaling pathway. Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into a non-surgical group (Control), a surgical group (Model), a surgical group treated with Dex (Model + Dex), a surgical group treated with GABAB R antagonist (Model + CGP 35348) and a surgical group treated with Dex and GABAB R agonist (Model + Dex + Baclofen). Cognitive and memory functions were evaluated by Y-maze test and open-field test. The neuronal morphology of the hippocampus was observed by hematoxylin and eosin staining and neuronal apoptosis was by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling method. Inflammatory factors and cAMP levels were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay while expressions of GABAB R and PKA-CREB pathway-related molecules by Western blot. Compared with control rats, the model rats exhibited reduced alternation rates with a prolonged time spent in the central zone; meanwhile, levels of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β and the apoptotic index, as well as GABAB R1 and GABAB R2 expressions were increased in the model rats, but the cAMP-PKA-CREB pathway was inhibited (all P < 0.05). When treated with either Dex or CGP 35348, the surgical rats displayed an opposite tendency concerning the above factors as compared to the model rats (all P < 0.05). Furthermore, Baclofen, the agonist of GABAB R, could reverse the protective effect of Dex against POCD in rats. Dex protects rats from POCD possibly via suppressing GABAB R to up-regulate the cAMP-PKA-CREB signaling pathway, thereby alleviating the hippocampal inflammation caused by surgical trauma.