Cortical spreading depression (CSD) has been known to play an important role in the mechanism of migraine, stroke and brain injure. Optical imaging of intrinsic signals has been shown a powerful method for characterizing the spatial and temporal pattern of the propagation of CSD. However, the possible physiological mechanisms underlying the intrinsic optical signal (IOS) during CSD still remain incompletely understood. In this study, a spectroscopic recording of the change in optical intrinsic signal during CSD was performed and an analysis method based on the modified Beer-Lambert law was used to estimate the changes in the concentration of HbO2 and Hb, and changes in light scattering from the spectra data. The CSD were induced by pinprick in 10 α-chloralose/urethane anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats. In all experiments, four-phasic changes in optical reflectance were observed at 450 nm ~ 570 nm, and triphasic changes in optical reflectance were observed in the range of 570 nm ~750 nm. But at 750 nm ~ 850 nm, only biphasic changes of optical signal were detected. Converting the spectra data to the changes in light scattering and concentration of Hb and HbO2, we found that the CSD induced an initial increase in concentration of HbO2 (amplitude: 9.0±3.7%), which was 26.2±18.6 s earlier than the onset of increase of Hb concentration. Furthermore, the concentration of HbO2 showed a four-phasic change, whereas the concentration of Hb only showed a biphasic change. For the changes in light scattering during CSD, a triphasic change was observed.