Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a pleiotropic polypeptide that mediates endothelial-cell-specific responses such as induction of proliferation and vascular leakage. We examined the expression of VEGF messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein by human eosinophils in response to granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-5 (IL-5). Immunoreactive VEGF protein was detected in freshly isolated eosinophils by immunocytochemistry. Eosinophils spontaneously released VEGF protein in culture medium, and this release was upregulated by GM-CSF or IL-5. Freshly isolated eosinophils constitutively expressed VEGF mRNA. Although incubation of eosinophils in culture medium reduced steady-state VEGF mRNA levels, eosinophil VEGF mRNA levels were enhanced by GM-CSF and IL-5, and this enhancement was blocked by the transcription inhibitor actinomycin D. Analysis of alternatively spliced mRNA species revealed that eosinophils contained transcripts mainly encoding for the 121- and 165-amino-acid forms of VEGF. VEGF mRNA expression and VEGF release in cytokine-stimulated eosinophils were significantly reduced by treatment with a glucocorticosteroid, a protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor, or a protein kinase C inhibitor. Cytokine-activated eosinophils may be an important source of a vascular permeability factor, namely VEGF, thus contributing to tissue edema formation at sites of allergic inflammation.