Collapsin response mediator proteins (CRMPs) are important molecules in neurite outgrowth and axonal guidance. Within the CRMP family, CRMP-2 has been implicated in several neurological diseases (Alzheimer's, epilepsy, and ischemia). Here, we investigated the integrity of CRMPs (CRMP-1, -2, -4, -5) after in vitro neurotoxin treatment and in vivo traumatic brain injury (TBI). After maitotoxin (MTX) and NMDA treatment of primary cortical neurons, a dramatic decrease of intact CRMP-1, -2 and -4 proteins were observed, accompanied by the appearance of distinct 55-kDa and 58-kDa breakdown products (BDP) for CRMP-2 and -4, respectively. Inhibition of calpain activation prevented NMDA-induced CRMP-2 proteolysis and redistribution of CRMP-2 from the neurites to the cell body, while attenuating neurite damage and neuronal cell injury. Similarly, CRMP-1, -2, and -4 were also found degraded in rat cortex and hippocampus following controlled cortical impact (CCI), an in vivo model of TBI. The appearance of the 55-kDa CRMP-2 BDP was observed to increase, in a time-dependent manner, between 24 and 48 h in the ipsilateral cortex, and by 48 hours in the hippocampus. The observed 55-kDa CRMP-2 BDP following TBI was reproduced by in vitro incubation of naive brain lysate with activated calpain-2, but not activated caspase-3. Sequence analysis revealed several possible cleavage sites near the C-terminus of CRMP-2. Collectively, this study demonstrated that CRMP-1, -2, and -4 are degraded following both acute traumatic and neurotoxic injury. Furthermore, calpain-2 was identified as the possible proteolytic mediator of CRMP-2 following excitotoxic injury and TBI, which appears to correlate well with neuronal cell injury and neurite damage. It is possible that the calpain-mediated truncation of CRMPs following TBI may be an inhibiting factor for post-injury neurite regeneration.