Neuroserpin is an axonally secreted serine protease inhibitor expressed in the nervous system that protects neurons from ischemia-induced apoptosis. Mutant neuroserpin forms have been found polymerized in inclusion bodies in a familial autosomal encephalopathy causing dementia, or associated with epilepsy. Regulation of neuroserpin expression is mostly unknown. Here we demonstrate that neuroserpin mRNA and the RNA-binding protein HuD are co-expressed in the rat central nervous system, and that HuD binds neuroserpin mRNA in vitro with high affinity. Gel-shift, supershift and T1 RNase assays revealed three HuD-binding sequences in the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of neuroserpin mRNA. They are AU-rich and 20, 51 and 19 nt in length. HuD binding to neuroserpin mRNA was also demonstrated in extracts of PC12 pheochromocytoma cells. Additionally, ectopic expression of increasing amounts of HuD in these cells results in the accumulation of neuroserpin 3'-UTR mRNA. Furthermore, stably transfected PC12 cells over-expressing HuD contain increased levels of both neuroserpin mRNAs (3.0 and 1.6 kb) and protein. Our results indicate that HuD stabilizes neuroserpin mRNA by binding to specific AU-rich sequences in its 3'-UTR, which prolongs the mRNA lifetime and increases protein level.