Spinal trauma is a serious problem of modern medicine. The morphological studies illustrate the presence of two alternative pathways of cell destruction in the injured spinal cord: immediate necrotic damage and delayed apoptotic destruction of cells. The apoptosis continues for about 14 days after trauma, and it involves both neurons and glia on a significant distance from the traumatic zone. In this review, the basic stages of apoptosis in spinal cord, biochemical regulation of this process, and methods for its detection are considered. The fact, that apoptosis is a normal cell death process, and that it has reversible stages allows to consider a possibility of pharmacological correction of apoptosis. The special attention is paid to anti-apoptotic therapy with the use of antisense oligodeoxynucleotides and to the perspectives of gene therapy.