Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their membrane-bound ligands, ephrins, have a variety of roles in the developing and adult central nervous system that require direct cell-cell interactions; including regulating axon path finding, cell proliferation, migration and synaptic plasticity. Recently, we identified a novel pro-survival role for ephrins in the adult subventricular zone, where ephrinB3 blocks Eph-mediated cell death during adult neurogenesis. Here, we examined whether EphB3 mediates cell death in the adult forebrain following traumatic brain injury and whether ephrinB3 infusion could limit this effect. We show that EphB3 co-labels with microtubule-associated protein 2-positive neurons in the adult cortex and is closely associated with ephrinB3 ligand, which is reduced following controlled cortical impact (CCI) injury. In the complete absence of EphB3 (EphB3(-/-)), we observed reduced terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL), and functional improvements in motor deficits after CCI injury as compared with wild-type and ephrinB3(-/-) mice. We also demonstrated that EphB3 exhibits dependence receptor characteristics as it is cleaved by caspases and induces cell death, which is not observed in the presence of ephrinB3. Following trauma, infusion of pre-clustered ephrinB3-Fc molecules (eB3-Fc) into the contralateral ventricle reduced cortical infarct volume and TUNEL staining in the cortex, dentate gyrus and CA3 hippocampus of wild-type and ephrinB3(-/-) mice, but not EphB3(-/-) mice. Similarly, application of eB3-Fc improved motor functions after CCI injury. We conclude that EphB3 mediates cell death in the adult cortex through a novel dependence receptor-mediated cell death mechanism in the injured adult cortex and is attenuated following ephrinB3 stimulation.