Neointimal fibromuscular hyperplasia (NFH) in vein grafts and perianastomotic zones of vascular prostheses has been attributed to the effects of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) released by platelets interacting with bypass conduits. But inhibition of platelet aggregation often fails to prevent NFH, and recurrent growth of intact, platelet-free endothelium over perianastomotic areas where NFH occurs is inconsistent with the concept of sustained PDGF release from platelets causing NFH progression at late times after surgical procedures. Cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells (ECs) and human umbilical vein ECs have been shown to release a PDGF-like molecule. We report that confluent cultured fourth passage adult human saphenous vein ECs (AHSVECs) grown in the presence of heparin (100 μg/ml) and retina-derived growth factor (RDGF) studied by Northern blotting transcribed a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) of 3.9 kb, strongly hybridizing to PDGF B chain probes, and two species of 2.0 and 2.6 kb hybridizing to PDGF A chain probes. Withdrawal of RDGF and heparin from these cultures for 48 hours before mRNA extraction amplified the scanning densitometric mRNA signal per cell by 8.0 ± 7.6 fold (mean ± SD) (N = 4 cultures) for B chain mRNA and 5.2 ± 3.6 fold (N = 3 cultures) for A chain mRNA. In addition, AHSVEC cultures released a PDGF-like substance, because 50% vol/vol AHSVEC-conditioned serum-free medium increased tritiated thymidine uptake elevenfold in PDGF receptor-bearing 3T3 cells whereas an excess (50 μg/ml) of monospecific goat anti-human-PDGF antibody significantly reduced this increase by a mean of 30% to 7.0 ± 3.4 fold (N = 6 trials, p < 0.001). Flow cytometry determined AHSVEC cultures to be proliferating with a mean of 6.2% ± 1.9% (N = 3 culture lines) of ECs in S phase even at confluence when deprived of EC mitogens for 48 hours. Adult human ECs, which proliferate on bypass conduits and host vessels after perioperative injury, may play a role in causing NFH by stimulating proliferation of adjacent smooth muscle cells. Prevention of NFH may require not only antiplatelet agents but also ways to prevent EC release of smooth muscle cell mitogens in response to perioperative EC injury.