Unlike mammals, zebrafish efficiently regenerate functional nervous system tissue after major spinal cord injury. Whereas glial scarring presents a roadblock for mammalian spinal cord repair, glial cells in zebrafish form a bridge across severed spinal cord tissue and facilitate regeneration. We performed a genome-wide profiling screen for secreted factors that are up-regulated during zebrafish spinal cord regeneration. We found that connective tissue growth factor a (ctgfa) is induced in and around glial cells that participate in initial bridging events. Mutations in ctgfa disrupted spinal cord repair, and transgenic ctgfa overexpression or local delivery of human CTGF recombinant protein accelerated bridging and functional regeneration. Our study reveals that CTGF is necessary and sufficient to stimulate glial bridging and natural spinal cord regeneration.