Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was purified from media conditioned by bovine pituitary folliculostellate cells (FC). VEGF is a heparin-binding growth factor specific for vascular endothelial cells that is able to induce angiogenesis in vivo. Complementary DNA clones for bovine and human VEGF were isolated from cDNA libraries prepared from FC and HL60 leukemia cells, respectively. These cDNAs encode hydrophilic proteins with sequences related to those of the A and B chains of platelet-derived growth factor. DNA sequencing suggests the existence of several molecular species of VEGF. VEGFs are secreted proteins, in contrast to other endothelial cell mitogens such as acidic or basic fibroblast growth factors and platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor. Human 293 cells transfected with an expression vector containing a bovine or human VEGF cDNA insert secrete an endothelial cell mitogen that behaves like native VEGF.