Injured adult retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) regrow axons into peripheral nerve (PN) grafted onto cut optic nerve. Survival and regeneration of RGCs is increased by intraocular injections of ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and axonal regeneration is further enhanced by co-injection of a cyclic AMP analogue (CPT-cAMP). Based on these data, and because cytokine signaling is negatively regulated by suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins, we set out to determine whether CNTF injections increase retinal SOCS expression and whether any changes are attenuated by co-injection with CPT-cAMP. Using quantitative PCR we found increased SOCS1, SOCS2 and SOCS3 mRNA levels at various times after a single CNTF injection. Expression remained high for many days. SOCS protein levels were also increased. In situ hybridization revealed that RGCs express SOCS3 mRNA, and SOCS expression in cultured RGCs was increased by CNTF. Co-injection of CPT-cAMP reduced CNTF induced expression of SOCS1 and SOCS3 mRNA and decreased SOCS3 protein expression. CNTF injection also transiently increased retinal leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) expression, an effect that was also moderated by CPT-cAMP. We propose that, along with known reparative effects of elevated cAMP on neurons, reducing SOCS upregulation may be an additional way in which cyclic nucleotides augment cytokine-induced regenerative responses in the injured CNS.