The proliferation of myofibroblasts is a central feature of pulmonary fibrosis. In this study we have used tyrosine kinase inhibitors of the tyrphostin class to specifically block autophosphorylation of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGF-R) or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R). AG1296 specifically inhibited autophosphorylation of PDGF-R and blocked PDGF-stimulated [3H]thymidine uptake by rat lung myofibroblasts in vitro. AG1478 was demonstrated as a selective blocker of EGF-R autophosphorylation and inhibited EGF-stimulated DNA synthesis in vitro. In a rat model of pulmonary fibrosis caused by intratracheal instillation of vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), intraperitoneal delivery of 50 mg/kg AG1296 or AG1478 in dimethylsulfoxide 1 hour before V2O5 instillation and again 2 days after instillation reduced the number of epithelial and mesenchymal cells incorporating bromodeoxyuridine (Brdu) by approximately 50% at 3 and 6 days after instillation. V2O5 instillation increased lung hydroxyproline fivefold 15 days after instillation, and AG1296 was more than 90% effective in preventing the increase in hydroxyproline, whereas AG1478 caused a 50% to 60% decrease in V2O5-stimulated hydroxyproline accumulation. These data provide evidence that PDGF and EGF receptor ligands are potent mitogens for collagen-producing mesenchymal cells during pulmonary fibrogenesis, and targeting tyrosine kinase receptors could offer a strategy for the treatment of fibrotic lung diseases.