Purpose. In an attempt to study whether ischemic spinal cord expresses a foreign gene in vivo, a replication-defective adenoviral vector containing the Escherichia coli lacZ gene was directly injected into the ischemic spinal cord of rabbits, and temporal and spatial profiles of the exogenous gene expression were compared with that of the control spinal cord. Methods:. Thirty-nine Japanese domesticated white rabbits weighing 2 to 3 kg were used in this study and were divided into two subgroups, a 15-minute ischemia group and a sham control group. The adenoviral vector was directly injected into lumbar spinal cord by a needle from dorsal spine just after the infrarenal aortic occlusion in the case of ischemia. Animals were allowed to recover at ambient temperature and were killed at 1, 2, 4, and 7 days after reperfusion (n = 3 at each time point). Results: In the control rabbit, adenoviral vector was transferred into the spinal cord, and the lacZ gene was expressed at dorsal astroglia and anterior motor neurons at 1 to 7 days of reperfusion. After 15 minutes of ischemia, the lacZ gene was expressed at 2 and 4 days of reperfusion in dorsal astroglia and anterior motor neurons, which were positive for Fas antigen. Conclusion: This result suggests that it is possible to transfer and express the lacZ gene in ischemic motor neurons, which eventually show apoptotic change with induction of Fas antigen, and also suggests a great potential of gene therapy for paraplegic patients in the future.