Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to display neuroprotective effects on dopaminergic (DA) neurons. Here, we investigated the neurorescue effects of VEGF on 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA)-treated DA neurons in vitro and in vivo. Initially, we examined in vitro whether 1, 10, or 100 ng/ml of VEGF administration at 2 or 4 h after 6-OHDA treatment rescued DA neurons derived from E14 murine ventral mesencephalon. The earlier treatment of VEGF suppressed 6-OHDA-induced loss of DA neurons more than the delayed treatment. Next, we examined whether the continuous infusion of VEGF had neurorescue effects in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. We established a human VEGF secreting cell line (BHK-VEGF) and encapsulated the cells into hollow fibers. The encapsulated cells were unilaterally transplanted into the striatum of adult rats at 1 or 2 weeks after 6-OHDA lesions, and animals subsequently underwent behavioral and immunohistochemical evaluations. Compared to lesioned rats that received BHK-Control capsules, lesioned rats transplanted with BHK-VEGF capsules showed a significant reduction in the number of amphetamine-induced rotations, a significant preservation of TH-positive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta, and a remarkable glial proliferation in the striatum, with the earlier transplantation exerting much more benefits than the delayed transplantation. Parallel studies revealed that the observed in vitro and in vivo neurorescue effects were likely mediated by VEGF's angiogenic and glial proliferative effects, as well as its direct effects on the neurons. Our results suggest that VEGF is a highly potent neurorescue molecule for Parkinson's disease therapy.