We have previously demonstrated that epidermal growth factor (EGF) induces cell migration, tissue-type plasminogen activator synthesis, as well as tubular formation in microvascular endothelial cells from human omental tissue. In this study, we compared the responsiveness to EGF of late passaged (senescent) human omental microvascular endothelial (HOME) cells with that of early passaged (young) HOME cells. We have employed HOME cells derived from surgically resected omental samples from 14 patients. EGF-stimulated cell migration significantly more in the young cells than in the senescent cells during serial cultivation (aging) in vitro. Scatchard analysis demonstrated that the number for both high and low affinity receptors for EGF in HOME cells was decreased dramatically during serial cultivation. The expression of EGF receptor mRNA was also decreased in the senescent HOME cells. Treatment of HOME cells with EGF significantly increased cellular mRNA levels of tissue-type plasminogen activator, and two protooncogenes, c-fos and c-myc, in young HOME cells, but not in senescent HOME cells. Thus HOME cells aged in vitro show a decreased responsiveness to EGF, resulting in decreased migration of human endothelial cells. The serial cultivation of human endothelial cells in vitro may downregulate EGF receptor and decrease responsiveness to exogenous EGF, a potent angiogenic factor.