Many aspects of the injury response in the neonatal central nervous system (CNS) are atypical and unlike those of the mature animal. Three distinct sequential cellular responses characterise the reaction of the adult spinal cord and brain to injury. These are: haemorrhagic phase; subacute period; and consolidation phase. Pharmacological strategies for the control of the cellular injury responses after CNS injury aim to: modulate acute inflammation to reduce oedema and necrosis in the neuropil about the wound; and promote regeneration of the severed axons with the ultimate aim of restoring lost function. A small, irregularly shaped stellate type of glial cell which constitutively expresses a chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan recognised by the NG2 antibody is found in the mature CNS. Within the acute period, axons severed by a penetrant injury of the CNS start to degenerate and their myelin sheaths undergo secondary degeneration; primary demyelination may be initiated as a consequence of the acute inflammation.