Objective: Discuss the molecular mechanism for improving neural regeneration after repair of sciatic nerve defect in rat by acellular nerve allograft (ANA). Methods: Randomly divide 36 Wistar rats into six groups as normal control group, autografting group, and bridging groups of 2, 4, 8, 12 weeks, six rats for each group. Observe the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in L4 spinal cord and anterior tibial muscle at the injury site, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) protein as well as mRNA, respectively. 12w after operation, histopathological observation was performed. Results: 2w after ANA bridging the sciatic nerve defect in rats, it was observed that the expression level of BDNF in spinal cord at the injury site and CGRP protein increased, reaching the peak level at 4w, lasting till 8w, then decreased but still significantly higher than that in normal control group at 12w, and was not significantly different compared with that in autografting group. However, the expression level of BDNF in anterior tibial muscle decreased gradually within the initial 4w, then increased progressively, reaching normal level at 12w, and was not significantly different compared with that in autografting group. The expression of BDNF mRNA and CGRPmRNA was essentially the same. 12w after operation, there was nerve regeneration in bridging group of 12w and autografting group. Conclusions: ANA possessed fine histocompatibility, and might substitute autograft to repair long-segment defect of sciatic nerve in rats. This action might be related to upregulation of protein and mRNA expression for BDNF and CGRP in spinal cord. Synapse, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.