To improve transplantation results of fetal suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in SCN-lesioned (SCNX) rats, grafts were ex vivo transduced with an adenoviral vector encoding for neurotrophin-3 (AdNT-3) before implantation. Mock- and AdLacZ-transduced grafts were used as controls. First, transplants were evaluated microscopically and by image analysis for the presence of vasopressinergic (VPergic) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptidergic (VIPergic) SCN neurons at 10 weeks or later postgrafting. Ex vivo AdNT-3-transduced transplants displayed increased volume areas of VPergic and VIPergic SCN cells in comparison with those in mock- and AdLacZ-transduced transplants, but significantly improved graft-to-host VPergic and VIPergic SCN fiber growth was not reached (though AdNT-3-transduced transplants tended to grow more VPergic fibers into the brain of VP-deficient SCNX Brattleboro rat recipients, which were chosen as recipients to circumvent the presence of non-SCN VP fiber staining). Second, a small group of arrhythmic Wistar rats received AdNT-3- or control-treated SCN grafts while continuously on-line for the monitoring of overt circadian activities in the pre- and postgrafting periods. The results indicated that ex vivo transduced SCN grafts can still restore arrhythmia, but that the NT-3-mediated anatomical improvements of the grafting results were not sufficient to enhance efficacy of reinstatement of circadian rhythm in SCN-lesioned rats. However, in this group VIP staining volume area, not VP staining volume area, correlated significantly with reinstatement of circadian rhythm.