While the actions of glucocorticoids on brain functions have been comprehensively studied, the underlying genomic mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we show that glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper (GILZ) mRNA is strongly and ubiquitously induced in rat brain. To decipher the molecular mechanisms underlying these genomic effects, it is of interest to identify the regulatory sites in the promoter region. Alignment of the rat GILZ promoter with the well-characterized human promoter resulted in poor sequence homology. Consequently, we analyzed the rat 5' flanking sequence by Matrix REDUCE and identified two high-affinity glucocorticoid response elements (GRE) located 2 kb upstream of the transcription start site. These findings were corroborated using the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expressing Ns-1 PC12 rat cell-line. In these cells, dexamethasone treatment leads to a progressive increase of GILZ mRNA expression levels via a GR-dependent mechanism. Subsequently, using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays we show that the two high-affinity GREs are located within the GR-binding regions. Lastly, we demonstrate using multiple tissue in situ hybridization a marked increase in mRNA expression levels in spleen, thymus, heart, lung, liver, muscle, testis, kidney, colon, ileum, as well as in brain and conclude that the GILZ gene can be used to study glucocorticoid effects in many additional rodent tissues.