We determined whether cutaneous angiogenesis induced by exposure of mice to ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation is associated with an imbalance between positive and negative angiogenesis-regulating molecules. Unshaved C3H/HeN mice were exposed to a single dose (15 kJ per m2) of UVB. At various times, the mice were killed, and their external ears were processed for routine histology and immunohistochemistry. Antibodies against proliferating cell nuclear antigen and bromodeoxyuridine identified dividing cells. Antibodies against CD31/ PECAM-1 identified endothelial cells, and antibodies against basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor, and interferon-beta (IFN-beta) identified angiogenesis-regulating molecules. Epidermal hyperplasia was documented by 48 h and reached a maximum on day 7 after exposure to UVB. The expression of bFGF increased by 24 h, whereas the expression of IFN-beta decreased by 72 h after exposure to UVB. The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor increased slightly after irradiation. The altered balance between bFGF and IFN-beta was associated with increased endothelial cell proliferation (bromodeoxyuridine + CD31 + cells) within existing blood vessels, leading to telangiectasia and new blood vessels. UV-induced epidermal hyperplasia and cutaneous angiogenesis were highest in IFN-alpha/beta receptor knockout mice. These results demonstrate that in response to UVB radiation, dividing keratinocytes produce a positive angiogenic molecule (bFGF) but not a negative angiogenic molecule (IFN-beta), and that this altered balance is associated with enhanced cutaneous angiogenesis.