Introduction: Spinal cord injury is a complex cascade of reactions secondary to the initial mechanical trauma that puts into action the innate properties of the injured cells, the circulatory, inflammatory, and chemical status around them, into a non-permissive and destructive environment for neuronal function and regeneration. Priming means putting a cell, in a state of "arousal" towards better function. Priming can be mechanical as trauma is known to enhance activity in cells. Materials and methods: A comprehensive review of the literature was performed to better understand the possible chemical primers used for spinal cord injuries. Conclusions: Taken together, many studies have shown various promising results using the substances outlined herein for treating SCI. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.