Visfatin has been originally identified as a growth factor for early stage B cells and recently known as an adipokine. Here, we report that hypoxia induces the visfatin mRNA and protein levels in MCF7 breast cancer cells. We also demonstrate that induction of visfatin gene is regulated by hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha). Moreover, 5'-flanking promoter region of human visfatin gene contains two functional HIF responsive elements (HREs), activating the expression of visfatin. Mutation of these HREs in the visfatin promoter abrogates activation of a luciferase reporter gene driven by visfatin promoter under hypoxia. Taken together, our results demonstrate that visfatin is a new hypoxia-inducible gene of which expression is stimulated through the interaction of HIF-1 with HRE sites in its promoter region.