In the early atherosclerotic lesion, monocytes accumulate at sites of inflammation and endothelial injury. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), produced for example by macrophages, is a chemoattractant for smooth muscle cells and possibly also for macrophages. During early differentiation into macrophages, human monocytes (early hMDM) showed lower expression of PDGF alpha-receptor (PDGF-Ralpha) than beta-receptor (PDGF-Rbeta) mRNA. Early hMDM showed increased random motility (chemokinesis) in the presence of PDGF of the long (BB(L)) but not short (BB(S)) B-chain homodimer. Neither PDGF-AA(S) nor PDGF-AA(L) affected early hMDM motility. Since increased cytokine levels accompany inflammation, the influence of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) on PDGF-R expression and migratory response were studied. Only PDGF-Ralpha mRNA was highly upregulated by IFN-gamma. TGF-beta only had minor effects on receptor mRNAs. Upregulation of PDGF-Ralpha levels by IFN-gamma was accompanied by significantly increased migration (chemotaxis) towards PDGF-AA(L) only. Consequently, IFN-gamma modulates PDGF-Rs expression in early hMDM and, subsequently, the chemotactic activity of PDGF-AA(L) on IFN-gamma-stimulated early hMDM. This suggests that PDGF-AA(L) may be involved in attracting activated monocytes to sites of inflammation and injury.