Peritoneal membrane permeability deteriorates in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients. We test whether glucose degradation products (GDPs) in PD fluids, glyoxal, methylglyoxal and 3-deoxyglucosone, stimulate the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a factor known to enhance vascular permeability and angiogenesis. VEGF increased in cultured rat mesothelial and human endothelial cells exposed to methylglyoxal, but not to glyoxal or 3-deoxyglucosone. VEGF also increased in peritoneal tissue of rats given intraperitoneally methylglyoxal. VEGF and carboxymethyllysine (CML) (formed from GDPs) co-localized immunohistochemically in mesothelial layer and vascular walls of the peritoneal membrane of patients given chronic PD. By contrast, in the peritoneum of non-uremic subjects, VEGF was identified only in vascular walls, in the absence of CML. VEGF production induced by GDPs may play a role in the progressive deterioration of the peritoneal membrane.