Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) develops in one-third of lung transplant recipients. A fibroproliferative process involving mesenchymal cells is observed histopathologically. In order further to evaluate the pathomechanisms of BOS, the gene expression of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-B and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta 1 in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells of six lung transplant recipients and appropriate controls was studied. Equal amounts of total RNA were submitted to semiquantitative reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), amplifying actin, PDGF-B and TGF-beta 1 using established protocols and primer sets. The signal/actin ratio was calculated based on laser densitometry measurements. TGF-beta 1 transcripts were detected in all samples, and a slight increase in BOS patients was observed. PDGF-B mRNA was increased in BAL samples from BOS patients compared to unaffected recipients and controls. Plotting the FEV1 in percent of vital capacity and the PDGF expression in BOS patients revealed an increased PDGF signal preceding lung function deterioration. The data were consistent with the hypothesis based mainly on in vitro findings that PDGF and TGF-beta contribute to the development of BOS.