Glioblastomas are highly vascular tumors which overexpress the angiogenesis factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF and its receptors, VEGF-R1 and VEGF-R2, have been shown to be necessary for embryonic angiogenesis as well as for tumor angiogenesis. Recently, the angiopoietin/Tie2 receptor system has been shown to exert functions in the cardiovascular system that are distinct from VEGF but are also critical for normal vascular development. To assess the potential role of Tie2 and its ligands angiopoietin-1 and angiopoietin-2 in tumor vascularization, we analyzed their expression pattern in human gliomas. Tie-2 was up-regulated in tumor endothelium compared to normal human brain tissue. We further observed cell type-specific up-regulation of the message for both angiopoietin-1 and angiopoietin-2 in gliomas. Whereas Ang-1 mRNA was expressed in tumor cells, Ang-2 mRNA was detected in endothelial cells of a subset of glioblastoma blood vessels. Small capillaries with few periendothelial support cells showed strong expression of Angiopoietin-2, whereas larger glioblastoma vessels with many periendothelial support cells showed little or no expression. Although the function of Tie2 and its ligands in tumor angiogenesis remains a subject of speculation, our findings are in agreement with a recently proposed hypothesis that in the presence of VEGF, local production of Ang-2 might promote angiogenesis.