Aged individuals exhibit reduced functional recovery after stroke. We examined the expression profile in aged animals of a recently identified group of growth-associated genes that underlies post-stroke axonal sprouting in the young adult. Basal levels of most growth-promoting genes are higher in aged cortex compared with young adult, and are further induced after stroke. Compared with the young adult, these genes are induced at later time points after stroke. For growth-inhibitory molecules, myelin-associated glycoprotein and ephrin A5 are uniquely induced in the aged brain; chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans and oligodendrocyte myelin glycoprotein are induced at earlier time points; and Nogo-A, semaphorin IIIa and NG2 decline in aged vs. young adult after stroke. The aged brain does not simply have a reduction in growth-associated molecules after stroke, but a completely unique molecular profile of post-stroke axonal sprouting.