Astrocytes accumulate iron under chronic oxidative stress conditions in ageing and neurological disorders. The soybean isoflavone genistein possesses antioxidant properties and selective estrogen-like activities. Here, a possible role of genistein in modulation of iron transport was explored in glial cells. Genistein significantly increased iron export through estrogen receptor--dependent p38 MAPK activation. Evidence is presented that this effect is associated to a p38 MAPK-triggered up-regulation of the iron export system made by ceruloplasmin and ferroportin-1, a pathway requiring activation of the transcription factor C/EBP.