Abstract The activity of ornithine decarboxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine synthesis, was assayed in the isolated facial nucleus of the rat at various times after axotomy of the facial nerve. In addition, it was measured 24 h after the second of a series of two lesions (conditioning lesion design) with various times between the first and second operations. Ornithine decarboxylase activity was found to increase 8 h after nerve transection and was maximum after 24 h (300% of control). Thereafter the activity declined to subnormal levels where it remained for several weeks. Ornithine decarboxylase activity did not increase again when a second axotomy was made 2 weeks after the first lesion. However, ornithine decarboxylase did respond to the second axotomy if it was carried out 3 weeks after the first lesion. Histochemical localization of ornithine decarboxylase demonstrated that the increase in enzyme activity was mainly confined to the perikarya of the motoneurons. These data suggest that this enzyme is somehow involved in triggering the “regeneration program” and clearly indicate that at least some aspects of the neuronal response to axotomy are not further stimulated by a conditioning lesion.