It has been reported that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are involved in the generation of the central nervous system during development. However, the roles of BMPs in mature spinal cord have not been clarified. We examined the expression of BMP7 mRNA before and after traumatic injury of the adult rat spinal cord. BMP7 mRNA was already detectable at a relatively low level in uninjured spinal cord, but was dramatically increased after injury. Semiquantitative RT-PCR study further confirmed upregulation of BMP7 mRNA in injured spinal cord. In situ hybridization indicated that expression of BMP7 mRNA was present only in glial cells in uninjured spinal cord. After injury, the number of BMP7-expressing glial cells was increased, BMP7 expression also became apparent in motor neurons. It has been suggested that BMPs promote survival of subventricular zone cells in adult rats. Thus, our results suggest that increase in the expression of BMP7 promotes survival of neurons and glial cells after acute traumatic injury. In contrast, there is increasing evidence that BMPs inhibit neurogenesis and alternatively promote gliogenesis of neural progenitors, which are also present in adult spinal cord, suggesting that injury-upregulated BMP7 may regulate differentiation of glial cells from neural progenitors and may induce gliosis after central nervous system injury.