Introduction: There are significant differences between the propensity of neural regeneration between the central and peripheral nervous systems. Materials and methods: Following a review of the literature, we describe the role of growth factors, guiding factors, and neurite outgrowth inhibitors in the physiology and development of the nervous system as well as the pathophysiology of the spinal cord. We also detail their therapeutic role as well as those of other chemical substances that have recently been found to modify regrowth following cord injury. Conclusions: Multiple factors appear to have promising futures for the possibility of improving spinal cord injury following injury. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.