The increased iron content in the brain of subjects with aceruloplasminemia has implicated ceruloplasmin (CP) as a major factor in the regulation of regional brain iron content. In this study, we investigated the effects of age and iron on CP expression in rat brain. In all four regions, the iron concentrations increased with developmental age. There is a similar trend in age-induced changes in CP mRNA and protein. The CP mRNA and protein levels were both lowest at postnatal day (PND) 7. The expression increased gradually with age, reaching the highest at PND196 in the striatum and substantia nigra, and at PND21 and PND63 in the cortex and hippocampus, respectively. This suggests the existence of an age-dependent pre-transcriptional regulation and a regionally specific effect of age on CP expression in the brain. Although total iron in all four regions was significantly lower in the rats fed with a low-iron diet for 6 weeks and higher in the rats with a high-iron diet than those in the control animals, no significant between-group differences in CP mRNA and protein were found in these animals, except in the substantia nigra where a significant increase in CP protein in high-iron rats was observed, and the reverse in low-iron rats. These findings suggested that the effects of iron on CP expression in the brain may be region-specific, and that regulation of CP expression by iron in the substantia nigra was at the post-transcriptional level. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.