Cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) is known to be associated with angiogenesis. In the present study we investigated the possible role of CREB in the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by mouse macrophages. Over-expression of CREB increased VEGF secretion by cells of the RAW264.7 mouse macrophage cell line. It also increased the promoter activity of a mouse reporter driven by the VEGF promoter, while a dominant negative CREB (DN-CREB) abrogated the activity, suggesting that CREB mediates VEGF transcription. Forskolin, an adenylyl cyclase activator, stimulated VEGF transcription, and the PKA inhibitor H89 abolished this effect. IFN-gamma, a potent cytokine, stimulated VEGF expression only in part through the PKA-CREB pathway. These results indicate that PKA phosphorylates CREB and so induces VEGF gene expression. An analysis of mutant promoters revealed that one of the putative CREB responsive elements (CREs), at 399 approximately 388 in the promoter, is critical for CREB-mediated VEGF promoter activity, and the significance of this CRE was confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays.