The known endothelial mitogens stimulate growth of vascular endothelial cells without regard to their tissue of origin. Here we report a growth factor that is expressed largely in one type of tissue and acts selectively on one type of endothelium. This molecule, called endocrine-gland-derived vascular endothelial growth factor (EG-VEGF), induced proliferation, migration and fenestration (the formation of membrane discontinuities) in capillary endothelial cells derived from endocrine glands. However, EG-VEGF had little or no effect on a variety of other endothelial and non-endothelial cell types tested. Similar to VEGF, EG-VEGF possesses a HIF-1 binding site, and its expression is induced by hypoxia. Both EG-VEGF and VEGF resulted in extensive angiogenesis and cyst formation when delivered in the ovary. However, unlike VEGF, EG-VEGF failed to promote angiogenesis in the cornea or skeletal muscle. Expression of human EG-VEGF messenger RNA is restricted to the steroidogenic glands, ovary, testis, adrenal and placenta and is often complementary to the expression of VEGF, suggesting that these molecules function in a coordinated manner. EG-VEGF is an example of a class of highly specific mitogens that act to regulate proliferation and differentiation of the vascular endothelium in a tissue-specific manner.