Microdialysate fluid from 145 severely injured NSICU-patients, 88 with subarachnoidal haemorrage (SAH), and 57 with traumatic brain injury (TBI), was collected by microdialysis during the first 7 days following impact, and levels of the neurotrophins fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were analysed. The study illustrates both similarities and differences in the reaction patterns of the 2 inflammatory proteins. The highest concentrations of both FGF2 and VEGF were measured on Day 2 (mean (+/- SE) values being 47.1 +/- 15.33 and 116.9 +/- 41.85 pg/ml, respectively, in the pooled patient material). The VEGF concentration was significantly higher in TBI-patients, while the FGF2 showed a tendency to be higher in SAH-patients. This is the first report presenting in some detail the human cerebral response of FGF2 and VEGF following SAH and TBI. Apart from increasing the understanding of the post-impact inflammatory response of the human brain, the study identifies potential threshold values for these chemokines that may serve as monitoring indicators in the NSICU.