PDGF receptors have recently been found to be expressed in microvascular endothelium in vivo under circumstances of endothelial cell activation and angiogenesis suggesting that PDGF may have a direct effect on endothelial cells. We have tested the angiogenic activity of PDGF-AA and -BB homodimers in the chick chorioallantoic membrane in vivo. PDGF-BB was found to consistently induce an angiogenic response whereas PDGF-AA was less active. Morphological analyses revealed that there was little inflammation associated with this response but an increase in vessel density suggested a direct effect of PDGF on embryonic chorioallantoic endothelial cells. In vitro, PDGF-BB was found to be more potent than PDGF-AA in stimulating the chemotaxis of rat brain capillary endothelial cells. This is consistent with a direct effect of PDGF on endothelial cells. Thus, this novel angiogenic activity of PDGF has implications for several developmental and pathological events in which PDGF, particularly the B-chain, is expressed.