[en] ABSTRACT Ependymal cells located around the central canal of the adult spinal cord are considered as a source of neural stem cells (NSCs) and represent an interesting pool of endogenous stem cells for repair strategies. Physical exercise is known to increase ependymal cell proliferation, while improving functional recovery. In this work, we further characterized those endogenous NSCs within the normal and injured adult rat spinal cord and investigated the effects of treadmill training using immunohistochemical and behavioural studies. In uninjured untrained rats, Sox-2, a NSC marker, was detected in all ependymal cells of the central canal, and also scattered throughout the parenchyma of the spinal cord. Within the lesion, Sox-2 expression increased transiently, while the number of nestin-positive ependymal cells increased with a concomitant enhancement of proliferation, as indicated by the mitotic markers Ki67 and BrdU. Exercise, which improved functional recovery and autonomous micturition, maintained nestin expression in both injured and uninjured spinal cords, with a positive correlation between locomotor recovery and the number of nestin-positive cells.