The repair of a fractured bone is a complex biological event that essentially recapitulates embryonic development and requires the activity of a number of different cell types undergoing proliferation, migration, adhesion, and differentiation, while at the same time expressing a host of different genes. To identify such genes, we employed differential display and compared messenger RNA (mRNA) populations isolated from postfracture (PF) day 5 calluses to those of intact rat femurs. One such gene in which expression was up-regulated at PF day 5 is identified as CYR61, a member of the CCN family of secreted regulatory proteins. CYR61 is a growth factor that stimulates chondrogenesis and angiogenesis. We show that its mRNA expression during fracture repair is regulated temporally, with elevated levels seen as early as PF day 3 and day 5, rising dramatically at PF day 7 and day 10, and finally declining at PF day 14 and day 21. At the highest peak of expression (PF day 7 and day 10, which correlates with chondrogenesis), CYR61 mRNA levels are approximately 10-fold higher than those detected in intact femurs. Similarly, high protein levels are detected throughout the reparative phase of the callus, particularly in fibrous tissue and periosteum, and in proliferating chondrocytes, osteoblasts, and immature osteocytes. The secreted form of CYR61 also was detected within the newly made osteoid. No labeling was detected in hypertrophic chondrocytes or in mature cortical osteocytes. These results suggest that CYR61 plays a significant role in cartilage and bone formation and may serve as an important regulator of fracture healing.