Hepcidin is a major regulator of iron homeostasis. Hepcidin expression is upregulated by inflammatory cytokines, particularly interleukin (IL)-6 and even more potently by the bone morphogenetic proteins 2, 4 and 9 (BMP-2, BMP-4 and BMP-9). This study showed that the regulation of hepcidin expression by IL-6 and BMPs occurs through distinct regulatory elements. The induction of hepcidin by BMPs requires at least two regions of the Hamp1 promoter, one between 140-260 bp and the other between 1.6-2.0 kb upstream of the start of translation. Reporter constructs including 1.6-2.0 kb of the Hamp1 promoter were induced >16-fold by BMPs whereas a 260 bp reporter Hamp1 promoter construct was induced only two- to threefold. The distal 1.6-2.0 kb region appeared to contain several different BMP-responsive elements, as incremental lengthening of the promoter construct in this region produced gradual escalation of BMP-responsiveness. In contrast, the IL-6 response required only the proximal 260 bp Hamp1 promoter region. Furthermore, there were no regulatory elements located in the non-coding or coding regions of Hamp1 and activation of the Hamp1 promoter was absent or markedly reduced in cells of non-hepatic origin.