Intracerebral or intraspinal grafting of genetically modified primary fibroblasts has been shown to enhance functional recovery in several models of CNS disease, including spinal cord injury. Most of these studies utilized retrovirus vectors. In this report, we describe in vitro conditions for genetically modifying primary fibroblasts with recombinant adenovirus vectors carrying the lacZ or green fluorescent protein (GFP) genes. As intraspinal allografts in animals immunosuppressed by cyclosporin A, the genetically modified cells survived and expressed the transgenes for at least 2 months. We conclude that recombinant adenovirus vectors are efficient and convenient tools for ex vivo gene therapy in the CNS.