The effects of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) on thymidine incorporation into DNA and glucose and neutral amino acid uptake were studied in endothelial cells cultured from macrovessels (bovine aorta and pulmonary artery) and microvessels (bovine fat and mouse brain). Similar to previous studies, PDGF did not bind to macrovessel cells, nor did it influence their metabolic function. In contrast, PDGF bound specifically to the two types of microvessel cell culture and in these cells also stimulated the uptake of glucose and neutral amino acids as well as the incorporation of thymidine into DNA. Stimulatory effects of PDGF occurred at concentrations of 2 ng/ml, with maximal stimulation up to 5-fold of the control value for amino isobutyric acid and glucose uptake and up to 8- to 10-fold for thymidine incorporation. The maximal effects of PDGF were additive to those of insulin-like growth factor, I, a known stimulator of all three metabolic processes in microvessel endothelial cells. The binding of PDGF to the endothelial cells was, in general, equivalent to PDGF binding to human foreskin fibroblasts, both in the magnitude of tracer binding and in the affinity of binding. Similar effects were found with recombinant and platelet-derived PDGF. We conclude that these two cultured microvessel endothelial cells not only produce PDGF-like material, but are capable of binding and responding to PDGF.