Fabp7 gene encodes a brain-specific fatty acid-binding protein that is widely used as a marker for neural stem cells. Here, we report that the activity of rat Fabp7 promoter was regulated directly by a transcription factor, Pax6. Deletion analyses identified an essential region (-837 to -64 from transcription start site) in the rat Fabp7 promoter. This region controls promoter activity in rat embryos and in the mouse cultured cell line MEB5. Over-expressing wild-type Pax6 or a dominant-negative Pax6 mutant enhanced and suppressed, respectively, the promoter activity. Pax6 can bind the region directly, although the region contains no clear binding motif for Pax6. The rat Fabp7 promoter also contains conserved binding sites for Pbx/POU (-384 to -377) and CBF1 (-270 to -262). However, specific deletion of the sites showed no significant reduction in the promoter activity, although a gel mobility shift assay confirmed that CBF1 binds the conserved sequence. Taken together, these results suggest that the rat Fabp7 promoter is mainly regulated by Pax6. The Pax6-dependent regulation of the rat Fabp7 expression might have an evolutionary aspect between rat and mouse; the former may need to efficiently use fatty acids to make the brain bigger than the latter.