There is little axonal growth after central nervous system (CNS) injury in adult mammals. The administration of antibodies (IN-1) to neutralize the myelin-associated neurite growth inhibitory proteins leads to long-distance regrowth of a proportion of CNS axons after injury. Our aim was: to determine if spinal cord lesion in adult rats, followed by treatment with antibodies to neurite growth inhibitors, can lead to regeneration and anatomical plasticity of other spinally projecting pathways; to determine if the anatomical projections persist at long survival intervals; and to determine whether this fibre growth is associated with recovery of function. We report here that brain stem-spinal as well as corticospinal axons undergo regeneration and anatomical plasticity after application of IN-1 antibodies. There is a recovery of specific reflex and locomotor functions after spinal cord injury in these adult rats. Removal of the sensorimotor cortex in IN-1-treated rats 2-3 months later abolished the recovered contact-placing responses, suggesting that the recovery was dependent upon the regrowth of these pathways.