Heme oxygenase-1, a key enzyme in heme catabolism, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) are responsible for production of carbon monoxide and nitric oxide (NO), respectively. Expression of each enzyme has been shown to be modulated by heme and NO, raising a possibility for the coordinated regulation of the two enzymes. We therefore analyzed the expression levels of both mRNA in humans using brain tumors. Either heme oxygenase-1 or iNOS mRNA was expressed at higher levels in brain tumors compared to the brain tissue, but their expression levels were not apparently correlated. In the brain tumor cell lines, treatment with cytokines increased the expression of iNOS mRNA but not heme oxygenase-1 mRNA, whereas treatment with an NO donor increased the expression of heme oxygenase-1 mRNA but not iNOS mRNA. These results suggest the separate regulation of expression of both enzyme mRNA in humans.