A cDNA library from the liver of a growth hormone (GH)-treated hypophysectomized rat was constructed and screened for GH-inducible genes (GIGs). Three cDNAs specific for putative GIG mRNAs (GIG-3, -7 and -12) were isolated and, when sequenced, were found to be homologous to portions of rat hemopexin, a Class 2 acute-phase gene. Hemopexin is an essential heme scavenger produced primarily in the liver, which upon binding to free heme, transports it to the liver where the heme iron is re-utilized. Hemopexin has not been previously described as being GH-responsive. GIG-3 and GIG-12 encode overlapping portions of the entire coding sequence starting within a few hundred base pairs from the 5′ end of the hemopexin mRNA, and GIG-7 encodes the 3′-most end of the hemopexin mRNA. Northern analysis and ribonuclease protection assays of RNA from livers of control rats using the cDNA probes demonstrated a major transcript of approximately 2.0 kb. The hemopexin mRNA was low or undetectable in livers of hypophysectomized rats. Daily treatment with bovine growth hormone (bGH) for 10 days restored hemopexin mRNA to levels comparable or greater than that of intact rats. GH-dependence in cultured rat H4IIE hepatoma cells was then examined. Using hemopexin cDNA probes (GIG-3, -7, and -12) we identified a mRNA on Northern blots, which increased in concentration following bGH, compared with untreated cells. When measured by ribonuclease protection assay, a maximal increase in hemopexin mRNA concentration was obtained following 4-6 h of bGH administration. We conclude that hemopexin is a GH-inducible gene in rat liver in vivo and in cultured rat hepatoma cells. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.