Peripheral nerve injury may trigger changes in mRNA levels in the spinal cord. Finding key mRNAs is important for improving repair after nerve injury. This study aimed to investigate changes in mRNAs in the spinal cord following sciatic nerve injury by transcriptomic analysis. The left sciatic nerve denervation model was established in C57BL/6 mice. The left L4–6 spinal cord segment was obtained at 0, 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks after severing the sciatic nerve. mRNA expression profiles were generated by RNA sequencing. The sequencing results of spinal cord mRNA at 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks after severing the sciatic nerve were compared with those at 0 weeks by bioinformatic analysis. We identified 1915 differentially expressed mRNAs in the spinal cord, of which 4, 1909, and 2 were differentially expressed at 1, 4, and 8 weeks after sciatic nerve injury, respectively. Sequencing results indicated that the number of differentially expressed mRNAs in the spinal cord was highest at 4 weeks after sciatic nerve injury. These mRNAs were associated with the cellular response to lipid, ATP metabolism, energy coupled proton transmembrane transport, nuclear transcription factor complex, vacuolar proton-transporting V-type ATPase complex, inner mitochondrial membrane protein complex, tau protein binding, NADH dehydrogenase activity and hydrogen ion transmembrane transporter activity. Of these mRNAs, Sgk1, Neurturin and Gpnmb took part in cell growth and development. Pathway analysis showed that these mRNAs were mainly involved in aldosterone-regulated sodium reabsorption, oxidative phosphorylation and collecting duct acid secretion. Functional assessment indicated that these mRNAs were associated with inflammation and cell morphology development. Our findings show that the number and type of spinal cord mRNAs involved in changes at different time points after peripheral nerve injury were different. The number of differentially expressed mRNAs in the spinal cord was highest at 4 weeks after sciatic nerve injury. These results provide reference data for finding new targets for the treatment of peripheral nerve injury, and for further gene therapy studies of peripheral nerve injury and repair. The study procedures were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Peking University People’s Hospital (approval No. 2017PHC004) on March 5, 2017.