In recent years, the role and physiological regulation of the serine protease tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA and its inhibitors, including plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1, in the brain have received much attention. However, as studies focusing these issues are difficult to perform in humans, a great majority of the studies conducted to date have utilized rodent in vivo and/or in vitro models. In view of the species-specific structural differences present in both the t-PA and the PAI-1 promoters, we have compared the response of these genes in astrocytes of rat and human origin. We reveal marked quantitative and qualitative species-specific differences in gene induction following treatment with various physiological and pathological stimuli. Thus, our findings are of importance for the interpretation of previous and future results related to t-PA and PAI-1 expression.