The pharmacokinetics of the immunosuppressive agent cyclosporin-A (CsA) were studied in rats submitted to spinal cord (SC) injury. A single CsA 10 mg/kg dose was given either intraperitoneally (i.p.) or orally to rats submitted to experimental SC injury at the T8 level. Twenty four hours after lesion (acute stage of SC injury) i.p. CsA bioavailability was increased, while t1/2 was prolonged. However, oral bioavailability was reduced. Seven weeks after lesion (chronic stage of SC injury) CsA bioavailability, by either route, was not significantly different from control values. Results indicate that parenteral CsA bioavailability is increased during the acute stage of SC lesion, probably due to an impaired elimination. Oral bioavailability, however, is decreased, since there is also an important reduction in gastrointestinal CsA absorption that overrides the effect of impaired elimination. Alterations in CsA pharmacokinetics appear to revert during the chronic stage of SC injury. Changes in CsA bioavailability, depending on the route of administration and on time, must be considered to design an adequate immunosuppressive treatment in SC injury.